Woman of the Year (1942)
Someone asked me when I fell for Spencer. I can’t remember. It was right away. We started our first picture together and I knew right away that I found him irresistible. Just exactly that, irresistible… We just passed twenty-seven years together in what was to me absolute bliss.
Katharine Hepburn | ME: Stories of my Life
The camera moves in, Hepburn in profile as he draws her toward him, her lips apart, the moment of contact perfectly obscured by the brim of his cocked hat. It is brief but heartfelt, passionate and completely unencumbered by concerns of lighting, position, focus. It’s the back of his head, her chin, the muffled soundtrack, their eyes laser-locked on each other as he releases her. It’s as real as any kiss in the history of the medium, the look of astonishment on her face, the deadly serious look on his, screen acting at its finest…. if it was acting.
“Mike and I were frequent visitors to the set,” said Ring Lardner, “and what we saw happening there was the final blessing on the venture. When you write a love story, you hope that the actors will make it seem convincing, but you scarcely expect them to actually fall for each other. A familiar sight on a movie set comes when a director calls ‘Cut!’ and the two lovers withdraw abruptly from a tight embrace, briskly heading off in separate directions as if to emphasize the nothing-personal aspect of their physical contact. Kate and Spence wanted to be together off camera as well as on.”
[Spencer Tracy: A Biography | James Curtis]
What fascinated her the most about him was his incredible directness and cleaness of spirit. He said and did exactly what he thought. He didn’t play with a role, he lived inside it. His love for her was as deep as hers for him, but it was not as openly and vibrantly expressed in words. He lived his love for her, rather than talked about it; it was as ingrained as his talent, in the very marrow of his bones.
— Charles Higham