Pat and Mike is the final team-up between Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn while the duo were under contract to M-G-M.
Following Pat and Mike, Tracy and Hepburn would team up to make only two more films together: Desk Set (1957) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). The latter two films would be released by 20th Century-Fox and Columbia, respectively. If you have not watched the latter, I beg of you to please do so at your soonest convenience. The two had a way of making movie magic with some films becoming all-time classics. Before doing this film, they teamed up for Adam’s Rib (1949), also directed by George Cukor.
College athletics instructor Pat Pemberton (Katherine Hepburn) has a confidence issue. She’s a talented golfer and tennis player but having fiancé Collier Weld (William Ching) around tends to bring out her worst. If Collier had his way, he would have Pat give it all up. If your fiancé would rather you give up all your dreams or goals, leave them because they are standing in the way of your dreams. Luck is around the corner when Pat meets sports promoter Mike Conovan (Spencer Tracy) after signing up for a tournament . Mike signs Pat as soon as he sees her swing a golf club. Her relationship with Collier eventually falls apart. Sports may have brought Pat and Mike together but they’re developing romantic feelings for each other.
Screenwriters Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, married in real life, wrote this film with friends Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in mind. In doing so, they earned their third Oscar nomination.
Sports comedies can be a tough sell. You have to have a nice balance for the film to really be able to work. Thankfully, this is what happens here. George Cukor, to his credit, knows how to direct the sports scenes in this instance. It could have been worse. This film could have been one of Will Ferrell’s awful sports comedies that practically killed the genre.
Pat and Mike may not be as memorable as their other pairings but the romantic sports comedy stands up on its own against their other films.
DIRECTOR: George Cukor
SCREENWRITERS: Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin
CAST: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Kepburn, Aldo Ray, William Ching, Gussie Moran, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Don Budge, Alice Marble, Frank Parker, Betty Hicks, Beverly Hanson, Helen Dettweiler