Spitfire

  • 1934
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

If you can stretch your credulity and accept sophisticated Hepburn as an ill-educated backwoods mountain type, you might enjoy this film. Adapting a play called "Trigger," they wisely changed the name to SPITFIRE because the original title sounded too much like a western. Hepburn is a lean, tough faith-healer from the Ozarks and she truly believes that...read more

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If you can stretch your credulity and accept sophisticated Hepburn as an ill-educated backwoods mountain type, you might enjoy this film. Adapting a play called "Trigger," they wisely changed the name to SPITFIRE because the original title sounded too much like a western. Hepburn is a

lean, tough faith-healer from the Ozarks and she truly believes that she has the gift in her hands to help the lame and the halt. The locals are frightened of her because she is such a zealot, as well as for her hair-trigger temper. There doesn't seem to be a handle anywhere that she won't fly

off. Young is an engineer building a dam in the area. He works for Bellamy. The two men find Hepburn attractive and begin to make their feelings known. Young, on loan from MGM, is discovered to be married to Sleeper and Hepburn feels betrayed because he never told her. Hepburn finds that a local

baby is dying; she sees that the parents will do nothing for the child, so she kidnaps the child and nurses it to reasonable health. After she returns the tot, it again falls ill and eventually dies. Hepburn is scorned by everyone, beaten, and almost hanged for what's happened. Bellamy saves her

life, and Hepburn decides that it might be better if she left the area, just for a while; she will eventually come back to the Ozarks and, if he is still there, to Bellamy. In many movies, Bellamy lost the girl to the star. Here, while he doesn't actually get Hepburn, there is the hope that he

might. Lots of religion mixes in with the dull love triangle; if the film had taken a deeper look at faith healing, as in ANGEL BABY or ELMER GANTRY, it might have had something to say. Comedian Bob Burns must have been embarrassed by his part since he took his name off the screen and used the

alias "High Ghere" as his credit. The play was originally acquired for the talents of Dorothy Jordan but Hepburn wanted to expand herself and get away from those high-cheekboned Eastern types she'd been playing and try something new. She asked Berman for the part and got it, a bad decision, as the

film died at the box office. Hepburn had made a string of low-grossers and producers were wondering if she had any real appeal to the audience. Right after this, she returned to New York, where she always maintained a residence, and went into "The Lake," a play that never made it either. SPITFIRE

was shot near Mexico, in the San Jacinto mountains. There's no question that it was a unique turn for Hepburn but, just as in later years audiences could only accept Sylvester Stallone with a machine gun in his hands or boxing gloves on his fists, they could not accept Hepburn in very many places

outside of a drawing room.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: If you can stretch your credulity and accept sophisticated Hepburn as an ill-educated backwoods mountain type, you might enjoy this film. Adapting a play called "Trigger," they wisely changed the name to SPITFIRE because the original title sounded too much… (more)

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