Katharine Hepburn in Christopher Strong

Posted on

As the BFI celebrates the unconventional Hollywood diva Katharine Hepburn with a series of films and talks, we too took this opportunity and went along to pay homage.

Oh Katharine, your lanky walk, your stomping feet and your moth outfit! Let us say this again, your moth outfit! The 1933 black and white film Christopher Strong can be said to be many things in terms of cinematography/direction etc etc, but for us that was hardly the point. We instantaneously fell in love with Katharine in a metallic moth gown comprising of antennae as well! We had to!There is the love of vintage, but there is also the love of old costumes. Ah, the details, the glamour, the precious floaty fabrics. Old school Hollywood characters wore the best of gowns even when, in theory, most of us would have been in their pjs at best (at best!!!).

We also admired the iconic jodhpurs that you, Katharine, wore in one of the following scenes more or less when your character Lady Cynthia Darrington, had decided to fly across the whole world (in a plane, and not as a moth - that was just a costume) to overcome heartache (don't we all do that?). For this was the woman that Lady Cynthia stood for: an independent, ambitious woman who tells her man, from the very beginning that he won't be able to control her life and desire to fly (as an aviatrix, not as a moth).

Of course the film had a tragic end and the main character is killed, and the plot was a little old-fashioned, some have said and rightly so, anti-feminist in its message too. But you can't have everything and this old classic is definitely worth a watch, and if the moth costume is not enough to sell it to you, choose from a much larger selection being showed at the BFI throughout this February and March and we're sure you won't be disappointed.

We left the cinema's most comfortable seats wondering about the title though, surely it should have been called, Cynthia Darrington, sigh.