Review: ‘Spitfire’

Rather than a picture with Katharine Hepburn, this is Hepburn with a picture built around her and the part she plays, that of a backwoods mountain girl of the south.

Rather than a picture with Katharine Hepburn, this is Hepburn with a picture built around her and the part she plays, that of a backwoods mountain girl of the south.

The Lulu Vollimer play of secluded mountain life was a piece called Trigger. This is the name of the girl around whom the story is built, but for box office purposes the change was made to Spitfire.

Hepburn not only has to look the part of the hotly-tempered young mountain woman but match a difficult accent with it throughout. In both respects the performance is almost without flaw.

The girl in prayer, and the legend that springs up around the country as to her powers, furnishes the only melodramatic content of the story, and builds from a sequence in which the girl helps herself to a neighbor’s baby. Her only thought is in giving it the care its parents are neglecting to bestow, but shortly after the child is returned to its native heath it dies.

This arouses the mountaineers to lynching frenzy from which they are partly scared and party spared by the intervention of one of Trigger’s engineer friends (Ralph Bellamy) who, along with his dam-building partner, has become smitten by her. Development of the love interest follows an intriguing course.

Robert Young, also an engineer, figures more prominently in the love interest up to about the middle when Trigger discovers he has a wife and quickly dismisses his suit.

Spitfire

Production

RKO. Director John Cromwell; Producer Merian C. Cooper, Pandro S. Berman; Screenplay Lulu Vollmer, Jane Murfin; Camera Edward Cronjager; Editor William H. Morgan; Music Max Steiner; Art Director Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1934. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Katharine Hepburn Robert Young Ralph Bellamy Martha Sleeper Louis Mason Sara Haden

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