My Dad is the sort of man who has always had strong opinions; not surprisingly, those opinions affected what I was exposed to when I was young. I saw “My Fair Lady” and “Operation Petticoat” and “South Pacific” and “Father Goose” many times as a child; I was an adult, however, before I saw an entire Barbara Streisand movie (she was Barbara then, and I’m over it). He was not a fan. He wasn’t a fan of Katherine Hepburn either; I saw “African Queen” once when I was growing up, but that was it. Which is why, at the movie night our church women’s group held this week, I felt weirdly disloyal for thoroughly enjoying “Desk Set”.
I actually had reservations going in, to be honest with you. Several friends had recommended it to me, and I didn’t disbelieve them, but I generally don’t love Spencer Tracy OR Katherine Hepburn. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by both. The film stars Spencer Tracy as a slightly awkward efficiency expert and Katherine Hepburn as the head of the research department he’s studying. Tracy played his part to such perfection that I didn’t once think of him as the turncoat in “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”; Hepburn’s looks haven’t grown on me any, but she was surprisingly convincing as an intelligent woman whose loneliness interfered with her personal strength and judgment. (Non sequitur: her fashion sense puts me in mind of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck.) The plot was enjoyable, the twist was well done, and the cast a pleasure to spend time with. The cinematography reminded me of a made-for-tv movie from back in the day, but it wasn’t a big deal. Despite my random touch of guilt for straying from my upbringing–or something–I have to say that it was totally worth seeing.
(It’s even better with popcorn, candy, and Oreo fluff; then again, most things are.)