Charlotte Chandler has written a series of very personal books about film stars and directors drawn from her long time acquaintance with Golden Age of Hollywood figures such as Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford and Billy Wilder.
Applause Books has published a paperback edition of Chandler’s “I Know Where I’m Going,” which gives us page after page of Katharine Hepburn talking about her life and her career.
Like the other Chandler volumes, this is not a biography in the conventional sense of an exhaustively researched look into the life and career of a great star. The book is a collection of converations (or were they interviews?) Chandler apparently recorded with Hepburn over many years.
The material is organized chronogically, but it is basically Kate taking us through her life in her own words (with occasional comments from such Hepburn friends and co-workers as George Cukor, Ginger Rogers and Sidney Poitier).
The book presents the direct and opinionated off-screen Hepburn that bolstered her position as a film and stage star.
As William Mann pointed out in his terrific 2007 biography, “Kate,” the actress was one of the most image conscious people in Hollywood and she frequently used her personal life to her own advantage (especially near the end of her life when she exploited her relationship with Spencer Tracy in a series of interviews, books and TV documentaries).
Chandler doesn’t dig much beneath the surface of the Hepburn image, but she gives us large (and presumably accurate) helpings of Kate’s take on her life and career.
The publication of the book is perfectly timed to the recent release of the new Warner Home Video DVD set containing all of the Hepburn and Tracy movies, from “Woman of the Year” in 1942 to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in 1967.
The title of the book derives from a section in which the author and the star discuss their mutual admiration of the 1945 Wendy Hiller film, “I Know Where I’m Going.”
Hepburn tells Chandler, “I would have liked that part, but Wendy Hiller was perfect. I didn’t play it in the film, but more important, I had that role in real life. I was the I-know-where-I’m-going girl.”
“But I’ll tell you what was even more important. I was the I-know-where-I’m not-going girl,” the star says of choosing not to remarry after an early and brief marriage, and also her decision against having children.