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Comedy Movies - Without Love - Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection


Without Love
Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection
Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lucille Ball
Directed by Harold S. Bucquet
MGM 1945 Black and White
Warner Home Video 2007
111 minutes

Without Love is another Katharine Hepburn Spencer Tracy comedy so you know there will be some pretty good verbal sparring. Finally available on DVD Without Love is one of the six DVDs in the Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection. According to a friend of mine and Hepburn connoisseur the 100th Anniversary Collection does not contain Hepburn's best work but I kind of enjoyed this one.

The print quality for the Without You DVD, a1945 relationship comedy, is a little dusty at times but nothing major aside from the footage with Hepburn in the diver's helmet and the scene where Tracy tries out his device in a G-force contraption. It is basically that of a good VHS tape.

Comedy movies do not age that well. For one thing the timing that makes things funny seems to change every few years and the social and moral contexts that support the humor also changes rapidly. This is quite true about Without Love but if you are a fan of forties comedy movies you will probably enjoy this Katharine Hepburn Spencer Tracy movie that also features Keenan Wynn as a befuddled drunk and Lucille Ball in the straight role of a real estate lady.

Katharine Hepburn is her usual somewhat stiff self as Jamie Rowan, a widow and the daughter of an important scientist who lets her house to man's man inventor Pat Jamieson (Spencer Tracy). A little bit of verbal repartee and misunderstandings leads to that event of course. Jamieson, Tracy, has sworn he will never fall in love again, Jamie, Hepburn, has also made that same oath but for a different reason. Of course, things move rather quickly along:  Jamieson moves into Jamie's house, Hepburn and Tracy confess each other, they end up in an arrangement of sorts, and she proposes. This is a marriage of convenience.

The rest of this Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary DVD is fairly predictable and the interest lies more in the Hepburn Tracy chemistry and some funny scenes involving Keenan Wynn and Lucille Ball.

Not everything in Without Love makes sense. Especially the scene early on where Tracy confronts Hepburn about her take on love and life, they have an argument, she throws him out, the research equipment shows up, she is forced to accept Jamieson in her home but does so with unwarranted great humor. Then again, I have never been a big Hepburn fan nor been much impressed with her acting skills. There is even a scene where she answers the phone before bringing it to her mouth. She does get to do some slapstick and physical comedy here.

Time moves along weirdly in this movie so you need to follow the clues carefully to figure out how much time has gone by between certain scenes. The movie is also a bit slow, even by forties standards.

Continuity takes a couple of major holidays in this comedy. The most glaring is when Tracy puts a dresser and two chairs in front of his door before retiring for the night. He does this because he sleepwalks. He then sleepwalks and the dresser is back where it originally was and the two chairs have moved magically out of the way so he can make his way to Hepburn's bedroom. He can also speak without moving his lips when he blacks out during an experiment.

Still, Without Love, one of the six DVDs in the Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection is a pleasant little forties romantic comedy that fans of the genre or period will enjoy.

Ironically, the movie comes with a theatrical short titled Purity Squad where a drug company conspires to put a drug on the market before it has really been tested. You know it has to be fiction because the FDA reacts quickly and pulls it off the shelves.

The Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection is a 6 DVD set that includes Morning Glory (1933), Dragon Seed (1944), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), The Corn Is Green (1979), and Undercurrent (1946). All of the DVDs aside from The Corn Is Green include a vintage cartoon and a theatrical short so you can have a real old-time movie theatre experience.

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