One of cinema's greatest actresses is turning the big 100!

On May 29, Warner Home Video will honor one of Hollywood's legendary "grand dames" on the anniversary of her 100th birthday (May 12) with the debut of the Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection. The Collection includes six films never on DVD before -- The Corn is Green, Dragon Seed, Morning Glory, Sylvia Scarlett, Undercurrent and Without Love.

Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection features the beloved screen legend in some of her most memorable roles, and will also include special features such as Oscar®-nominated vintage shorts and classic cartoons. The films will be available all together in a collectible gift set for $59.92 SRP.

About Katharine Hepburn*:

Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) - who was named the #1 female star of all time by AFI -- was an actress whose independent life and strong-willed movie characters made her a role model for generations of women and a beloved heroine to filmgoers for more than 60 years. Her starring roles in film, on stage and on television were those of sharp-witted, sophisticated women with an ease that suggested there was a thin line between her on- screen and off-screen personalities.

After appearing in several stage plays, her first film role came as John Barrymore's daughter in A Bill of Divorcement (1932) directed by George Cukor, who was later one of her dearest friends and with whom she made 10 films. Miss Hepburn became a movie star quickly. She won an Academy Award® for her role as Eva Lovelace, the naïve aspiring actress who learns a tough lesson about survival, in the 1933 film Morning Glory, only her third movie, and part of this collection. She was nominated for a dozen Oscars®, (a record for many years, eventually beaten by Meryl Streep, who just received her 14th nomination this year). Miss Hepburn won three more Best Actress Academy Awards, for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter and On Golden Pond.

Many of her early films are now regarded as classics. Playing a tough, determined actress in Stage Door (1937), she read a line from a play - "The calla lilies are in bloom again" - that became the all-time favorite of Hepburn impersonators. Life magazine said that Stage Door proved that she was "potentially, the screen's greatest actress."

She played a free-spirited heiress in Bringing Up Baby (1938), opposite Cary Grant and a leopard. But the film, now treasured, was a box-office flop, and by then her career was in decline. In 1938 she appeared on a list of actors labeled "box-office poison" in a poll of movie exhibitors. Then Miss Hepburn took charge of her career in a way few women dared in those days of the studio system. Philip Barry wrote the play "The Philadelphia Story" for her, modeling his beautiful heroine, Tracy Lord, on Miss Hepburn. The play was a hit, and Miss Hepburn owned the rights to it because Howard Hughes, a sometime beau, had bought them for her. She went to Louis B. Mayer, the head of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio, and sold him the property on the condition that she play the lead. She chose her friend George Cukor to direct. And she asked for Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable as her co-stars. She got Cary Grant as her former husband, James Stewart as the reporter, and a hit movie. She never lost control of her career again.

Soon she went back to Mayer with another script, Woman of the Year, the story of the unlikely romance between a hotshot political columnist and a sportswriter. She asked for Tracy, whom she'd never met, to play the sportswriter. This time she got him. The two began a love affair which would eventually dominate Ms. Hepburn's life and career and become one of the great romantic legends and brilliant movie pairings of their day. The movies they made -- among them, Woman of the Year, Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike -- are typically bright and biting collaborations. Their last movie together was an especially poignant Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

One of Miss Hepburn's most enduring films without Tracy was African Queen (1951), in which she played opposite Humphrey Bogart for director John Huston. Her versatility lasted well into her career with such films as The Lion in Winter, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Rooster Cogburn, and On Golden Pond.

*Adapted from Miss Hepburn's obituary by Caryn James, The New York Times, June 30, 2003

About the Films:

The Corn is Green (1978):

Katharine Hepburn stars in director George Cukor's exquisite television version of Emlyn Williams' beloved play about a dedicated teacher who is determined to make a difference in an early 1900s Welsh mining community. This is Hepburn's 10th and final collaboration with her dear friend Cukor.

Technical Specs:

- Run Time: 93 minutes

Dragon Seed (1944):

Hepburn headlines this dramatic saga of the World War II Chinese war effort, playing heroic Chinese peasant woman Jade in this adaptation of the bestseller by Pearl S. Buck (The Good Earth). Stellar support includes Walter Huston and Aline MacMahon (Academy AwardÒ nominee for her stirring performance) as a long-married couple whose peaceful farm life is disrupted by enemy troops - and plunged into a tumult of hardships, wartime atrocities and fiery resistance.


- Vintage short Romance of Celluloid: Twenty Years After

- Classic cartoon Happy-Go-Nutty

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

- Run Time: 149 minutes

Morning Glory (1933):

Hepburn earned the first of four Best Actress Academy Awards® for her portrayal of stage-struck Eva Lovelace, a role with strong parallels to Hepburn's own theatrical beginnings. The story of an innocent country girl who seeks fame and fortune on Broadway, Eva's story encompasses setbacks, human frailties and courage, talent and triumph.

DVD Features:

- Oscar-nominated Pete Smith short Menu

- Classic cartoon Bosko's Mechanical Man

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

- Run Time: 74 minutes

Sylvia Scarlett (1936):

This offbeat movie marks the first of the four screen pairings of legends Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, who play half of a roving team of swindlers and performers. Hepburn's gender-bending dual roles as Sylvia and Sidney caused consternation then, but today the film finds an avid cult following. And Grant's performance as a ne'er-do-well cockney con artist gave him a role that showcased for the first time his wider talents.

DVD Features:

- Vintage Fitzpatrick TravelTalk short Los Angeles: Wonder City of the West

- Classic cartoon Alias St. Nick

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

- Run Time: 95 minutes

Undercurrent (1946):

This noir-styled melodrama directed with deft, screw-tightening skill by Vincente Minnelli sets a brooding tone. Newlywed Ann Garroway (Katharine Hepburn) is blinded by happiness, unable to see the true nature of her husband (Robert Taylor). She overlooks the menace that creeps into his words and trusts him when he says his mysterious, long-unseen brother (Robert Mitchum) is a psychopath. This is a suspenseful psychological thriller, with doubt and fear lurking under the surface.

DVD Features:

- Oscar-Nominated Theater of Life short Traffic with the Devil

- Classic cartoon Lonesome Lenny

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

- Run Time: 116 minutes

Without Love (1945):

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn team for the third time in the romantic comedy Without Love, playing a couple doing their part for the wartime lodging crunch by sharing her Washington DC home. Donald Ogden Stewart adapts Philip Barry's play (five years earlier, both helped shape Hepburn's comeback movie The Philadelphia Story). Supporting stars Keenan Wynn as a bon vivant, Lucille Ball's wisecracking Girl Friday and Gloria Grahame's flower girl add to the movie's urbane wit and warmth.

DVD Features:

- Vintage Crime Doesn't Pay Short Purity Squad

- Classic cartoon Swing Shift Cinderella

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

- Run Time: 110 minutes

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs