Christopher Strong (1933) starring Katharine Hepburn, Colin Clive, Billie Burke, Helen Chandler, Ralph Forbes directed by Dorothy Arzner Movie Review

Christopher Strong (1933)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Katharine Hepburn and Colin Clive in Christopher Strong (1933)

Hepburn as the Other Woman

As a fan of movies I don't need much of a reason to watch a movie but I can give you two reasons to watch "Christopher Strong" a drama from way back in 1933. Firstly this was Katharine Hepburn's 2nd movie and one where you can clearly see the genesis of the Hepburn persona, strong woman with a feminist streak but also a romantic. And secondly we have an old movie which deals with extra marital affairs and it is interesting to see how the subject is approached in comparison to today's movies where now seeing a married man in bed with another woman wouldn't be an issue.

At a party which he is dragged to by his daughter, Member of Parliament Sir Christopher Strong (Colin Clive) meets Lady Cynthia Darrington (Katharine Hepburn - On Golden Pond) a daredevil aviator who inspires women to live life on their terms. Christopher and Cynthia hit it off immediately and after a few weeks his wife begins to suspect something is going on. But being conservative nothing can happen especially as Christopher has to deal with his daughter Monica (Helen Chandler) carrying on with Harry (Ralph Forbes) a married man. But despite their best endeavours Christopher and Cynthia can't keep apart and start a secret relationship which starts to change him when after Harry gets divorced he is happy to allow Monica to marry him. But their affair doesn't go unnoticed and there are big consequences for their subterfuge.

Katharine Hepburn as Lady Cynthia Darrington in Christopher Strong (1933)

So as already mentioned one of the reasons to watch "Christopher Strong" now 80 years after it was made is to see how the subject of an affair is handled and it is done in a clever way. The cleverness is the two opposing views which we are given and how they change because at the start Christopher is very conservative in his views but as he succumbs to his feelings he becomes much more liberal. But then you have his daughter Monica who starts off as very liberal and carefree yet as the story evolves she becomes the conservative one. It makes it interesting and that interest extends to the actual affair because whilst we witness Christopher and Cynthia kiss the way they suggest they have gone to bed together is cleverly and so simply done.

Alongside this we also have the interesting aspect of Cynthia because on one hand she is a feminist, an independent woman who loves flying and says she has no room for romance yet falls for Christopher. It almost seems conflicted especially when the affair starts and Christopher asks her to stop flying but it leads to a brilliant ending, a powerful series of scenes with a question of ambiguity over whether Cynthia had a change of mind. I won't say anymore but the ending leaves it nicely open to individual interpretation.

On the subject of Cynthia we have Katharine Hepburn in only her 2nd movie and you can see the start of what would become Hepburn's trademark character, the strong feminist. Hepburn plays Cynthia perfectly, getting across the confliction of being in love but also independent and to be honest whilst all the other performances are solid it is really Hepburn's performance which remains the acting attraction.

What this all boils down to is that "Christopher Strong" is now more of an interesting movie rather than an entertaining one thanks to it being an early Katharine Hepburn movie and one which is about an affair.