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Hollywood Romantic ComedyStates of the Union, 1934-65$
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Kathrina Glitre

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719070785

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719070785.001.0001

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date: 14 December 2017

Economy and excess: Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

Economy and excess: Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

Chapter:
5 (p.112) Economy and excess: Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
Source:
Hollywood Romantic Comedy
Author(s):

Kathrina Glitre

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719070785.003.0023

This chapter is about the Hollywood actors Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who epitomised the adage that opposites attract. Sexual difference is not their only opposition: she is upper-class, while he is lower-class; she is liberal, he is conservative; she is Anglo-Saxon Protestant, he is Irish Catholic; she is intellectual, he has common sense. The various textual and extratextual discourses about the Hepburn/Tracy couple repeatedly work out this structural opposition through a process of moderation. Seemingly having nothing in common, Hepburn and Tracy's union symbolises the moderation of oppositional idiosyncrasies creating a stable equilibrium. The metaphor of economy and excess proves extremely useful in characterising this dynamic, but it also suggests a hidden gender essentialism: male as practical and rational, female as impractical and irrational—or the difference between a straight line and a spiral.

Keywords:   economy, excess, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, oppositional idiosyncrasies

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