I’m up to my sixth review for “Random Movies Month” to be featured on Monty and Desiree’s website. Today I thought I would review one of Katharine Hepburn’s most underrated movies and performances “Undercurrent”, an impressive Film Noir directed by Vincente Minnelli which has Katharine playing opposite Robert Taylor.
Katharine Hepburn is electrifying in this powerful Film Noir, psychological thriller, which teams her with the ever lovely Robert Taylor in one of his only roles where he plays an abominable person. Ann Hamilton ( Katharine Hepburn ) is a young bride married to Alan Garroway ( Robert Taylor ) a dynamic inventor of the Garroway Distance Controller. When they first meet at the house of Ann’s scientist father, it’s love at first sight. Ann is an effervescent tomboy, who doesn’t care about the way she dresses. Alan is smooth talking and can be rather capricious at times. With full acquiescence they get married and travel to Washington where Alan hosts a party. Being the tomboy that Ann is she doesn’t have a clue how to dress up to look prominent. Instead she feels extrinsic throughout the party. The next day Alan takes her out to teach her how to dress and provides her with a whole new wardrobe.
It doesn’t take long for Ann to realize that her husband has a duplicitous aura about him. She’s prurient to learn about Alan’s absent mysterious brother Michael ( Robert Mitchum ) that Alan despises, but nobody wants to share much information with her about him. During a trip to Middleburg things turn aberrant when Ann discovers that Alan is not always truthful and that he has equivocated the truth to her about certain aspects of his family. As time goes on Ann finds herself infatuated with the shadow of Alan’s brother, whom she doesn’t know, but sets to unravel the enigma that’s surrounding him and eventually she’s caught in the cobweb of veracity. Soon she realizes that Alan is putting on a false façade and suspects that her husband is trying to murder her.
“Undercurrent” is another film where Katharine got to disperse her acting ability and reach the height of her full dramatic potential once again by appearing in a Film Noir, a genre that she was not really accustomed to, apart from “Keeper Of The Flame” the second Tracy and Hepburn vehicle. Though she was not known as a Film Noir actress she was still prodigious in this field and was more adept at Film Noir than some other actresses who regularly appeared in Noir films.
Being a devoted Katharine Hepburn enthusiast like I am, I feel that Kate deserves more credit than what she received for this film. She really shined in her portrayal of Ann Hamilton, and once again proved that she was a very versatile actress, who could succeed in any role she played. They don’t call her ‘Kate The Great’ for nothing.
Quotes in film:
Ann Hamilton: “I think you wanted people to see the before first.”
Alan Garroway: “Why’s that?”
Ann Hamilton: “Because otherwise you couldn’t take the credit in the after.”
Ann Hamilton: [on seeing Washington, D.C] “The closest I’ve ever come is a letter to my Congressman.”
Katharine Hepburn: Born Katharine Houghton Hepburn on May 12th, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut. Died: June 29th, 2003 in Fenwick, Connecticut. Aged 96.
Robert Taylor: Born Spangler Arlington Brugh on August 5th, 1911 in Filley, Nebraska. Died: June 8th, 1969 in Santa Monica, California. Note: At the time of filming “Undercurrent” Robert Taylor was married to Barbara Stanwyck. The two would divorce in 1951.