Without Love isn’t as famous as other pairings but it is the third team-up between screen legends Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
George Stevens’s romantic comedy, Woman of the Year, marked their first team up in 1942. However, this wasn’t meant to be their first team-up. No, the honor was going to belong to The Philadelphia Story but things didn’t work out in the end. One thing is for sure though: Without Love does not happen without The Philadelphia Story. Philip Barry wrote the stage play and Hepburn also starred on stage just like she did a few years earlier. This marked Hepburn’s third film to be based on a Barry play with the first being Holiday in 1938. But unlike Holiday, the play was written with Hepburn in mind. Don’t forget, there was a time in which the actress was considered box office poison.
Military inventor Pat Jamieson (Spencer Tracy) but because of wartime lodging, he has a tough time finding a room in the nation’s capital. He ends up being offered a place to stay at Jamie Rowan’s (Katharine Hepburn) residence with much thanks to another cab passenger. Quintin Ladd (Keenan Wynn) just happens to be Jamie’s cousin and the rest is history. Staying at her place doesn’t come without a catch. The two of them must get married if only for appearance reasons. While they start their journey without any feelings, it’s no surprise that they fall for each other by the end of the film.
Behind the camera, this is the final film directed by Harold S. Bucquet. He would die one year after the film was released in theaters. Meanwhile, Oscar-winning cinematographer Karl Freund would later work with Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy. Freund might not be as well known (I honestly just learned his name this week) but he was innovative in developing the 3-camera system for television sitcoms.
Without Love may not be as memorable as their other work but being able to watch Tracy and Hepburn is worth a viewing. Lucille Ball and Keenan Wynn also make for solid screen partners.
DIRECTOR: Harold S. Bucquet
SCREENWRITER: Donald Ogden Stewart
CAST: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Keenan Wynn, Carl Esmond, Patricia Morison, Felix Bressart