Lost Katharine Hepburn Film To Be Screened For The First Time In Over Forty Years
By Alex Cranz
There are a lot of different ways to characterize lost films. Some were destroyed. Some are missing in a vault in Argentina or LA. Some are sequestered away by the people who own the rights in the hopes no one will ever see them again.
Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four, Jerry Lewis’s The Day the Clown Cried and, until the 80s, The Manchurian Candidate all fell into the last category of lost. As did The Iron Petticoat, a Cold War era Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn comedy.
If you’re scratching your head at the idea of Hepburn’s screwball aesthetics meetings Hope’s vaudevillian flare you’re not the only one. Hepburn signed onto the film when the script was written by Ben Hecht (who gave us His Girl Friday, Some Like It Hot and Gone With the Wind) and based on the Greta Garbo flick, Ninotchka. Cary Grant was attached to play the American Air Force Officer sent to woo her Soviet fight pilot.
It didn’t go as planned and Bob Hope signed on. Then Bob Hope decided the script needed to be re-written to better match his comedy style. So the guy who wrote Son of Pale Face rewrote one of the most prolific and well-respected screenwriters in Hollywood.
Hecht was so offended by the changes and the grand scale of them he actually had his name taken off the final product and denounced the film.
As did everyone else involved. The film absolutely bombed and Hope had every copy of it taken up and stored away in his personal collection in 1966. Which…valid. I mean, try wrapping your head around these two playing lovers.
That’s like trying to imagine a Cate Blanchette and Adam Sandler comedy…which I now DESPERATELY NEED.
Hope’s estate released a copy to TCM who have remastered it and plans on airing it November 29. Hopefully they’ll play Ninotchka before hand as the Garbo film from ’39 is superb and her rare comedy.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to cry over the missed opportunity of a Hepburn/Grant reunion.
Source [The Hollywood Reporter]