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On March 9, 1933, the RKO Radio production of Christopher Strong, featuring a star-turn by Katharine Hepburn, premiered in New York. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review of the film is below.
The Radio production of Christopher Strong will act as a stepping stone to higher stardom for Katharine Hepburn. As a picture, it is solely interesting because of her acting and some exceedingly fine direction by Dorothy Arzner.
Where Hepburn is off the screen, the proceedings become rather dull, not because of anything particularly, except that you miss that gal and find yourself wondering what she is going to do on her next appearance and how she will be dressed for it.
Katharine Hepburn, so far as this reviewer’s opinion runs, is the next big star of pictures. She is distinctive in that no other person on the screen is like her. She photographs good and bad. At times she looks beautiful, at other times she is hideous, but always an artist, and what an artist!
There was little doubt of Hepburn’s popularity after Bill of Divorcement. You could sense that at last night’s preview. Accordingly, Christopher Strong should make money for exhibitors and return a profit to Radio.
It is a story of a man married more than five years and still in love with his wife, and a girl, past 21, who has never had an affair with a man. They meet, fall in love with each other and then break all the precepts that gave them sufficient interest to be introduced to the story. What happens after they meet and how the affair ends consumes eight or nine reels of pictures.
Dorothy Arzner has done a wonderful job with the direction. One of the most beautiful love scenes we have ever seen in pictures is in this production and to the credit of Miss Arzner. Colin Clive, as Christopher Strong, was excellent. Billie Burke as his wife gave an impressive performance, as did Helen Chandler.
Our advice to you, Mr. Exhibitor, is to make Christopher Strong incidental and go out for your business exploiting Katharine Hepburn. You can’t miss, even though after you counted your receipts, you have little to count. But you may find out that you have assisted in building a new personality; and certainly the next time you play her you will cash in and cash in strong. — Staff review, originally published March 4, 1933
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