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Katharine Hepburn Collection [6 Discs] [DVD]

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$49.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Fascinating short subjects
  • Delightful classic cartoons
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Undercurrent
A change of pace for both director Vincente Minnelli and star Katharine Hepburn, this taut drama features the latter as Ann Hamilton, the daughter of a scientist (Edmund Gwenn), who after a whirlwind romance marries handsome but slightly mysterious inventor turned businessman Alan Garroway (Robert Taylor). But wedded bliss proves short-lived when Garroway refuses to discuss his brother Michael, whose presence is felt constantly despite the mystery surrounding his whereabouts. The missing Michael becomes an obsession for Ann, whose curiosity is piqued even more after a chance encounter with Sylvia Burton (Jayne Meadows), a young woman who figures in the lives of both brothers and who displays a strange resemblance to Ann herself. Despite Alan's dire misgivings, Ann feels compelled to solve the mystery of Michael, until, that is, she discovers that Alan may very well have murdered his own brother. Undercurrent marked the screen debut of Jayne Meadows and a breakthrough of sorts for Robert Mitchum, whom M-G-M borrowed from David O. Selznick for a reputed $25,000. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Sylvia Scarlett
This big-budget 1936 RKO Studios picture lost money, perhaps due to a cool box-office reception to the idea of leading lady Katharine Hepburn in drag, and a rare-for-its-day screen kiss between two women. Edmund Gwenn plays the title character's father Henry, who is obsessed with gambling. His daughter Sylvia (Hepburn) has stolen some expensive lace which they hope to smuggle from France to England. To elude police, she cuts her hair short and disguises herself as a man. She and her father board a ship, and a drunken Henry confesses their scheme to Jimmy Monkley (Cary Grant), a jewel smuggler. To divert attention away from him, Jimmy snitches on Henry to the customs officials, and Henry has to pay up or be arrested. Later, Sylvia confronts Jimmy on a train and punches him. Jimmy apologizes and cuts them in on a scheme to steal jewels from a wealthy family, using his friend Maudie (Dennie Moore), a maid in the house. But Sylvia, still disguised as a man, talks Maudie out of it, and she responds with a kiss. Maudie and Sylvia's father fall in love and Maudie, an aspiring actress, invests money in a show to open in a seaside resort. There they are invited to the mansion of a wealthy artist, Michael Fane (Brian Aherne), who is unsettled by Sylvia's obvious affections before finally discovering that she's a woman. Jimmy is attracted to Michael's roommate, the Russian-born Lily (Natalie Paley) -- and from there, the romantic entaglements between the aformentioned parties proceed like a Shakespearean comedy. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Dragon Seed
This lavish, 145-minute cinemadaptation of the Pearl Buck best-seller Dragon Seed was intended by MGM as a followup to the studio's successful film version of Buck's The Good Earth. In true Hollywood fashion, the Chinese protagonists are all played by Caucasian actors, with fascinating if not always convincing results. When a peaceful Chinese village is invaded by the Japanese prior to WW2, the men elect to adopt a peaceful, don't-rock-the-boat attitude towards their conquerors-and it is understood that the women will stoically acquiesce as well. But Jade (Katharine Hepburn), a headstrong young woman, intends to stand up to the Japanese whether her husband Lao Er (Turhan Bey) approves or not. She even goes so far as to learn to read and to handle a weapon, so that she may properly equipped for both psychological and physical combat. Jade's attitude spreads to the rest of the village, convincing even the staunchest of male traditional that the Japanese can be defeated only by offering a strong united front-male and female. Alas, there are a few Quislings in their midst, notably avaricious merchant Wu Lien (Akim Tamiroff), who learns all too late the terrible cost of collaboration. While it seems odd to see so many non-Orientals-Walter Huston, Agnes Moorehead, Hurd Hatfield, J. Carroll Naish-in the major roles, Dragon Seed manages to retain its power and entertainment value even 50 years after the fact (Incidentally, there are a few genuine Chinese in the cast-most of them playing Japanese!) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Corn Is Green
Welsh-born writer Emlyn Williams' 1938 play The Corn is Green originally starred Ethel Barrymore as L.C. Moffat, the strong-willed schoolteacher under whose guidance the illiterate Welsh teenager Morgan Evans matriculates as an honor student. Bette Davis played Moffat in the 1945 film version; this second filmization, made for television on location in North Wales, stars Katharine Hepburn. Morgan Evans is portrayed by newcomer Ian Saynor; the rest of the cast is populated by such old reliables as Bill Fraser and Anna Massey. Directed by George Cukor (his ninth collaboration with Katharine Hepburn), The Corn is Green premiered on January 29, 1979. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Without Love
In their third film together, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn created one of the box-office sensations of 1945, a sparklingly witty wartime comedy about a marriage entered on the theory that love only gums up a relationship. Invited by a drunken Quintin Ladd (Keenan Wynn), devoted scientist Patrick Jamieson (Tracy) moves into the Washington mansion belonging to Ladd's cousin Mrs. Jamie Rowan (Hepburn), a widow, who, it soon appears, shares Pat's distaste of romantic love. Highly interested in the scientist's attempt to develop a high-altitude oxygen helmet for the war department, and tired of being hit on by men, an emboldened Jamie proposes marriage to Pat, insisting that theirs should be a union uncomplicated by love. Pat readily agrees and the two settle into a seemingly well-functioning life of shared passion for the oxygen experiments. But when Pat's former girlfriend turns up, Jamie discovers that she has fallen in love with her husband after all and attempts to win him back. The ploy, however, seems to backfire -- or does it? Originally written for Katharine Hepburn by her frequent collaborator Philip Barry, Without Love had enjoyed a moderately successful run on Broadway from 1942-1943 with Elliott Nugent as the scientist. The much more successful screen version became the final film of MGM contract director Harold S. Bouquet, who died of cancer soon after. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Morning Glory
Katharine Hepburn won her first Oscar for her portrayal of Eva Lovelace, a small-town community-theatre actress who comes to New York dreaming of theatrical stardom. She amuses producer Adolphe Menjou and playwright Douglas Fairbanks Jr. with her naively pretentious prattle, but neither man takes her too seriously. Both, however are attracted to Eva: Menjou has a brief affair with her, but she yearns for the more reserved Fairbanks. Partly out of sympathy, Fairbanks arranges for Eva to understudy the troublesome star (Mary Duncan) of Menjou's latest production. When the star walks out on opening night, Eva goes on in her stead, and is universally hailed as a brilliant new find. Backstage after her triumph, Eva is warned not to let her sudden success go to her head lest she become a "morning glory": a briefly spectacular "bloomer" that withers and dies within a very short time. Proof of this warning is Eva's maid, a middle-aged woman who had also been an instant star years earlier. But Eva is too intoxicated by the thrill of realizing her life's dream; embracing her weeping maid, Eva declares to the world that she doesn't care if she is a morning glory. The film fades as Eva shouts defiantly "I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid!" Adapted from a stage play by Zoe Akins, Morning Glory was remade in 1957 as Stage Struck, with Susan Strasberg as Eva Lovelace. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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