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Woman of the Year

(1942 b 114')

En: 7 Ed: 7

A sportswriter and a prominent political journalist try to make a marriage, but he finds her career prevents her from being the wife he wants.

Sportswriter Sam Craig (Spencer Tracy) hears political commentator Tess Harding (Katharine Hepburn) suggest abolishing baseball during the war. He writes a column objecting, and she responds. Editor Clayton (Reginald Owen) tells them to quit fighting, and they agree. Sam takes Tess to a baseball game and explains the rules. She likes it but leaves, telling Sam to come at nine. At the party Sam hears foreign languages and leaves. Busy Tess asks Sam to take her to the airport. He attends her talk to women and is embarrassed. Tess asks Sam to kiss her goodbye. Her aunt Ellen Whitcomb (Fay Bainter) suggests that Sam marry Tess. Pinkie (William Bendix) serves drinks to Sam and Tess. Tipsy Sam says he loves her. At her apartment they kiss, and he leaves his hat. Sam asks Tess to marry. Her father William Harding (Minor Watson) is late for the wedding and rushes off after. Tess asks Sam to move into her apartment. Dr. Lubbeck (Ludwig Stossel) escaped from a concentration camp and arrives with two body guards to see Tess. When others come to see Lubbeck, Sam calls Pinkie to bring friends. Flo (Gladys Blake) learns they just wed and gets people to leave.

Sam covers a football game in Chicago snow. Tess finishes dictating to her secretary Gerald (Dan Tobin). Sam cooks eggs for them. Sam learns that she was in Chicago and gets angry. Sam and her father drink together. Tess brings Sam breakfast in bed and says they have the boy Chris from Greece, because she is head of a refugee committee. Sam objects. Tess learns that she was named Woman of the Year. Sam stays home from the banquet to be with Chris and says that she is not a woman. Sam takes Chris back, saying he did not agree. Tess finds that Sam moved out, and she goes to get Chris, who does not want to go with her.

Tess gets a telegram from Ellen to meet Sam at her place. Tess invites Sam, who declines. He says it wasn't a marriage and kisses her goodbye. Ellen and William tell Tess they are getting married, and she witnesses the wedding. Tess goes to Sam's new place and finds him sleeping. She tries to make coffee but sets off an alarm. She uses much yeast in waffles and tries to separate eggs. Sam watches, and she says she came home to be his wife. The waffles pour out, and the coffee boils over. Sam suggests she avoid extremes and be Tess Harding Craig. Gerald arrives and says Tess must launch a battleship; but Sam breaks the bottle on Gerald.

This romantic comedy deals with serious themes of the clash between feminism and male expectations, also contrasting her political work to his sports diversion; these differences conflict with the magnetic attraction that was palpable in the first film of Tracy of Hepburn together.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

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