Director(s): Elia Kazan
Available Quality: DivX
IMDB Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (782 votes)
The highly melodramatic western begins with St. Louis resident Katharine Hepburn marrying New Mexico cattleman Spencer Tracy after a short courtship. When she arrives in Salt Pork, NM she finds that her new husband is considered by the locals to be a tyrant who uses force to keep homesteaders off the government owned land he uses for grazing his cattle--the so-called Sea of Grass. Hepburns character, Lutie, has difficulty reconciling her husbands beliefs and passions with her own, and eventually leaves him just long enough to conceive a child with her husbands moral enemy. Two years later, in the midst of a crisis, her husband discovers her infidelity and forces her to leave--without her two children (husbands daughter and other mans son).
robertmarburger (21 May 2013)
Hepburn and Tracy are woefully miscast in this ennui-inducing bore that iseasily the worst of their films -- well, perhaps tied with Keeper of theFlame. The sexual tension, the battle of the sexes, that was the hallmarkoftheir best efforts -- which were the comedies, not the dramas -- isentirelyabsent here. Hepburn seems uncomfortable as the naive nineteenth-centurymarked woman who bears her "shame" stoically and alone. Tracy, whosebrilliant underplaying made him one of the masters of his craft,sleepwalksthrough this thing -- with the exception of the scene where his friendDoc,with his dying words, makes Tracy realize what his rigidity has cost him.The great team and their talented supporting cast are cruelly wasted inthisdreary soap/horse opera.
adamshl (20 May 2013)
"The Sea of Grass" is a most insightful, intelligent film. The heart ofthe conflict is basically that of hopeful homesteaders wanting to plantcrops and raise their families on the new land--with the opposing sideforetelling of the ruin of the land that was essentially "meant" forcattle grazing, not crop planting.It's a potent conflict, with both sides falling short on some importantissues, and both sides eventually learning from one another. Whatcattle baron Spencer Tracey predicted would happen, comes to pass. Yet,the new land is very much going to be farmed by new pioneers. It's afact of evolution, and nothing can stop it. Only conservation measuresweren't adhered to, and farming preceded, at Judge Melvyn Douglas'assistance, without the necessary safeguards put into place.The script deftly weaves into this situation a touching human element,by way of Tracy's marriage to Katherine Hepburn. They come to symbolizethe ideological conflict and the great toll it takes on their marriageand lives.Long considered an average to below average film in many quarters, ithas increased in value over the years. The Dish Network rated it 3 1/2out of 4 stars, and many viewers are finding enhanced value in it.Beautifully acted, directed, photographed and mounted, "The Sea ofGrass" is finally coming into its own. True at 121 minutes, it couldhave been trimmed a bit, yet it is a film of which its director neednot have held in low esteem.The rest of the cast--including Robert Walker and Phyllis Thaxter--alldo commendable jobs. It's a notable piece of work that's growing instature every year.
maryszd (16 May 2013)
I tuned into this film on TCM expecting to see a familiar prairie epicabout Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy fighting the heroic fightagainst the elements. What I got was a film about two flawed andvulnerable human beings who made a series of disastrously bad personaland parental decisions. Even though there was a lot of talk about Col.Brewton's (Tracy) attachment to the "grass"and being a cattleman, thestory of the Brewton's failed marriage could have taken place inBaltimore. It was nice to see both Hepburn and Tracy acting in flawedways and out of character. From the looks of it, Tracy wasuncomfortable in the role. But Hepburn is the better actor here and herpredicament is more poignant. It's an odd and interesting film that'swell worth seeing.
Anita de Acosta Keith (15 May 2013)
I will comment on the clothing worn by Katharine Hepburn. Originally,as the daughter of a wealthy man, I feel that her clothing was quitestylish and evocative of the era. I watched the fashion credits at thebeginning of the movie, and was quite pleased. I liked the longdress-suit with the dotted underlining, as well as the white pleatedblouse that was oh-so-tailored. Lutie was very stylish, indeed. Shealways carried herself with dignity, and never lowered herself to dresslike the Sunbonnet-Sues of the western town or even like her friend outon the prairie. As a two-time mother who had just given birth, shealways kept her tiny waist.Regarding Katharine portraying a mother, I was so surprised and happyto see her with small children. She seemed very natural. This was avery believable role, Katharine as a mother. She was very adoring andloving, very caring. What drove Lutie away was her stubborn jackasshusband, but she always loved her children.
wes-connors (15 May 2013)
In 1880 St. Louis, well-dressed socialite Katharine Hepburn (as LutieCameron) prepares for her fancy wedding to well-heeled rancher SpencerTracy (as James "Jim" Brewton), but he is delayed due to businessconcerns. Traveling to New Mexico, Ms. Hepburn is hitched to Mr. Tracyafter meeting his mutually attractive rival Melvyn Douglas (as BriceChamberlain). This "love triangle" eventually produces wild RobertWalker (as Brock). Well-respected director Elia Kazan practicallydisowned this film; it's easy to see why, with Tracy and Hepburnappearing out of place in a decades-spanning, overblown pseudo-westernsoap opera epic. The reported effort to make Tracy appear sober andHepburn appear glamorous was successful, at least. A thick layer of MGMproduction gloss doesn't enhance the story as much as it does thewatching.***** The Sea of Grass (2/26/47) Elia Kazan ~ Katharine Hepburn,Spencer Tracy, Robert Walker, Melvyn Douglas
jjnxn-1 (15 May 2013)
Minor entry in the Hepburn/Tracy canon is justifiably obscure. Thescript is long winded but not terribly deep. As far as the performancesSpencer Tracy is right at home as the rigid man whose pride works tohis detriment but Kate seems uncomfortable in her role and it doesn'treally fit her, a wounded dignity is needed and her tough resilience isat odds with that, Margaret Sullavan would have been much better suitedto the part. The basic structure of the film works against what wasalways so special about the pair and that's their interaction, forgreat swatches of this they are apart. Robert Walker shows up late inthe proceeding and injects some much needed life in the picture but isgone too soon. One good piece of casting is Phyllis Thaxter as thepair's grown daughter, she bears a striking resemblance to both andreally does seem as if she could be their child. The best performancein the whole show is turned in by the reliable Edgar Buchanan as thefamily standby, his involvement with the others is one of the few partsthat doesn't feel artificial. The usually reliable Melvyn Douglas isdefeated by a stick figure character. The pace of the film is too slow,this was an early film for Kazan and he still had some learning to do,and by the end it becomes a trial too sit though. Not awful but a miss.
_Amidala (05 May 2013)
_Sea of Grass_ is a soap opera set during the turbulent years when farmersand cattlemen fought to control the land in New Mexico. Katharine Hepburnand Spencer Tracy are wonderful as always, and the direction by Elia Kazanis beautiful, sweeping over the lonely, barren setting. But the movielastslonger than it should, and the ending seems all too contrived. This moviewould be easily forgotten if not for the Tracy/Hepburnpairing.
planktonrules (05 May 2013)
This movie is tough to love. Partly this is due to the setting of thefilm (nothing but grasslands as far as the eyes can see), but most ofit is because the two main characters are so flawed and unlikable. Insome ways this unlikability is good, as too often Hollywood films ofthe 30s and 40s present people in a "black/white" fashion and peoplewho fall somewhere towards the middle are seldom seen. However, such"gray" characters are tough to bond with or care about, so I canunderstand why the film makers generally avoided this. KatherineHepburn seems like a good character through much of the film, butmidway through it, she shows a self-centeredness that make it tough toreally see the tragedy in her life. Her initially living with the crueland lawless Tracy is unforgivable, but her having an affair and thenleaving her kids (one the bastard) with Tracy and not seeing them foralmost 20 years make her very, very tough to like. Tracy, on the otherhand, does stay to care for his kids--but in a very self-servingfashion. He is an emotionally constricted and yet over-indulgentfather. As a human being, he's a lot worse--killing or nearly killingfarmers because he saw the plains as his own personal property. Thecentral message that eventually these farmers contributed to thedestruction of the plains is lost--Tracy's not fighting against thefarmers due to any love of nature or a desire to preserve the land. No,he's just a greedy rancher that will do ANYTHING to keep the landwithout fences.Despite the problems with the characters, the film is exquisitelyfilmed--with some of the more beautiful camera shots I've seen in along time. This film is worth seeing, but not one I would recommend yourush to see.
bkoganbing (03 May 2013)
Considering that Sea of Grass is helmed by a director who's notfamiliar with the western milieu it's amazing that it comes off as wellas it does. Elia Kazan is so much better in an urban setting like Onthe Waterfront. Yet Tracy and Hepburn do make this work on some levels.John Wayne in McLintock and Spencer Tracy in Sea of Grass have the sameview of the prarie. Both films take the side of the cattle rancher asopposed to the farmer. Certainly other films like Shane make the farmerthe good guy. But events here show that Tracy was right about theprarie as his arch rival in politics and love, Melvyn Douglas, ruefullypoints out.Tracy and Wayne also have spousal problems, although certainly Waynehandles his with a tad more humor. One thing that Maureen O'Hara doesand Katharine Hepburn doesn't is share his vision of the prarie. Shebefriends the farmer family nearby and that is what causes the riftbetween her and Tracy.McLintock is a comedy and Sea of Grass is a western soap opera. Kazanwas lucky in casting folks like Edgar Buchanan and Harry Carey who knewtheir way around a western. Robert Walker was taking some tentativesteps toward a similar role in Vengeance Valley. He only appears in thelast half hour of the film as the kid with dubious paternity, but youwill remember him.Katharine Hepburn would have to wait another 28 years before doinganother traditional western in Rooster Cogburn. Eula Goodnight iscertainly light years from Lutie Cameron. Colonel Jim Brewton though isthe same type cattle baron as G.W. McLintock.I think the film is more for fans of soap opera than for fans ofwesterns. And certainly it's for fans of Spence and Kate.
dbdumonteil (03 May 2013)
In Michel Ciment's book " Kazan par Kazan" which is actually a verylong interview (Ã la "Hitchcock by Truffaut"),the director recalled howpainful the filming of "sea of grass " was for him:first of all,hecomplained for a subject like that SHOULD have been filmed on locationand we can find little fault with his opinion;besides ,he had to usethe Tracy /Hepburn pairing,two actors he admired but who were miscasthere;"Tracy did not like horses and horses did not like Tracy either".His wife should have been a frail young girl,which Hepburn was not:"she was clever but she was part of the high society.." The one thingKazan seemed to appreciate was her crying;but reportedly Louis B Mayerwatching the rushes complained: her tears does not flow from her eyes,but from her nose;it looks like snot!" Among all my movies this is theone I like the least" he concludes.With hindsight,the film retains qualities and I do not think anywaythat it is worse than the disastrous "last tycoon" which IMHO,isKazan's absolute nadir.Hindsight displays its charms.Considering thelimitations Kazan was working under,it's a wonder that the scene whereHepburn and Tracy are in front of the "sea of grass" listening to thenoise and to the silence (of the Buffalos -now they are gone- and ofthe Indians -now in the reservations-) is really poetic.We can alsosave the scene of the storm ,where the farmer (David) has to fight hiswealthy neighbor (Goliath).The historical context ,the end of theprairie of grass and the coming of the farmers ,is interesting.Robert Walker's character ,an unstable boy ,predates James Dean in"East of Eden" by eight years:too bad the part is underwritten.The factthat he was born of adultery is almost passed over in silence ,exceptfor one scene or two.It is not my Kazan's favorite or even among my favorites,but it's afilm to watch if ,like me,you are interested in the director's oeuvre..Like this? try this......"Giant" Georges Stevens 1955
edwagreen (02 May 2013)
In my opinion, this was probably the best of the long list of SpencerTracy-Katharine Hepburn films.The two really get the opportunity and to their credit deliver fineperformances in this 1947 film dealing with the settling of land byHomesteaders and the resulting conflict between them and the landownersand the eventual dissolution of a marriage between Hepburn and Tracy.The film also gave us matinÃ©e idol's Melvyn Douglas the chance toperform in more of a supporting role and he also delivered as the judgewho loved Hepburn and their love produced a tragic end.When Tracy realizes that he can no longer fight the "encroachment" ofsettlers on the land, the story takes on a different fold with hismarriage to Hepburn breaking up. This is also a story of male dominancechallenged by a strong-willed Hepburn.Harry Carey is terrific in the role of the sympathetic doctor, friendlyto both. In fact, Carey was even better here than in his supportingOscar nominated performance 8 years before in "Mr. Smith Goes toWashington." There is also ample support given by Robert Walker andPhyllis Thaxter, as the Hepburn-Tracy adult children in the film.The film also takes on the meaning and results of town gossip andscandal and how it ultimately leads to tragic consequences.Another great job by director Elia Kazan.
amb0120 (01 May 2013)
Why do I get the feeling some folks know little about Spencer Tracy?For example, Kazan's alleged quote of "Tracy did not like horses andhorses did not like Tracy either" (per Ciment's book). Excuse me, buthow could a man who loved to play polo, which Tracy did and did a lotin his younger days and against studio wishes, not like horses? I'veplayed polo and if you don't like horses (and they don't like you) youwon't be playing the game more than once or twice. Maybe the quote wasmade for the more obvious reason: to justify Kazan turning out a moviethat was below his abilities? If true that one of Kazan's excuses forthe painful experience of directing the movie was not filming onlocation, I can't totally disagree, but then again a good many greatfilms were not filmed on location, so this excuse only holds so muchwater. And how can one think that the movie is a "cattlemen vs.homesteaders" film? That's the setting, and it is the trigger of theconflict between the main characters, which leads to the betrayal,which is the center piece of the story, but that certainly isn't themovie. I grant you, it's not one of Tracy's best, but he does the besthe can with the lame Marguerite Roberts' script. Even if this movie hadbeen shot on location, it doesn't change the glaring fact that a badscript is still a bad script. If you believe Tracy was sleepwalking,then you have to also believe Kazan was on life support and Roberts wasdead, from the neck up, while scripting this one. If Tracy's at faultfor anything, it's for trying to save the film, which is more than itdeserved.
kenjha (27 April 2013)
A hard-headed cattleman clashes with homesteaders. Supposedly this isthe only film of his that Kazan was embarrassed about. It is easy tosee why this would not be something that one would want in hisfilmography. It is a shame that the script is so inept because it doeshave a good cast. The good news is that this film somehow did not endthe team of Tracy and Hepburn, allowing them to go on and make suchworthy films as "Adam's Rib." It is odd seeing Hepburn in a Western, agenre in which she made three forgettable films. Douglas is alwaysworth watching and he does nothing here to embarrass himself. Walkerturns in a rather bizarre performance as a gunfighter.
oldblackandwhite (27 April 2013)
The Sea Of Grass is slow moving and talky, but not as bad as many haveportrayed it. If I told you without cluing you in on the title I had atop-production 1947 MGM picture staring Spencer Tracy, KatharineHepburn, and Melvyn Douglas, you would be expecting a glossy whitetelephone movie with a love triangle and lots of high melodrama fromthe three stars. That's essentially what you get here, only replace thewhite telephones with elk antler hat racks, the swank park avenueapartments with rambling ranch houses, and the busy New York streetscenes with a dusty, one-horse, Nineteenth Century New Mexico town. TheSea Of Grass is a soap opera dressed up as a Western. If that is whatyou are expecting, instead of a traditional shoot-'em-up, you may bemuch more pleased with it.The three stars deliver their usual stellar performances and threefine, textured character studies. Old, smoothie Douglas is particularlyeffective as a hard-edged attorney and later judge, cattle baronTracy's stalwart opponent and Katherine's illicit lover, father of hersecond child. The large supporting cast shines, led by Edgar Buchananand Harry Carry. Over rated Robert Walker is over-the-top as usual, butfun to watch. Production values are superb with terrific luminous, oldnitrate black and white cinematography typical of the era, a richHerbert Stodhart score, good, authentic costumes, great sets with somespectacular location scenery dovetailed in for long shots of Southwestgrasslands and cliffs. Principally concentrating on relationships, thestory moves along at a glacial pace, but the stars and an intelligent,if messy, script hold interest. Some of the dialog is a little preachyand overblown, but it is generally believable and satisfying. There ishardly any action until the last reels, and even then it ishalf-hearted and ultimately just peters out. The major subplot is thetraditional Western theme of cattlemen versus homesteaders, but theeventual showdown comes early and is anti-climatic. Nevertheless, themovie is engrossing and enjoyable for the acting and the productionvalues. It is refreshing to see a movie about the Old West thatconcentrates on decent real people and their real life problems insteadof just dwelling on brawls between lowlifes who hang out in brothelsand saloons.The Sea Of Grass is not bad, but not as good as it should have beenwith all it had going for it. Director Elia Kazan reportedly said hewas ashamed of the picture, and he should have been. The overly slowpacing, lack of spark between Tracy and Hepburn, and other problemsclearly resulted from his flabby direction. With three top stars at thepeaks of their careers, an intriguing story, and a big budget, The SeaOf Grass should have been a much better picture, and it would have beenif Raoul Walsh had directed it.
vincentlynch-moonoi (23 April 2013)
I'm updating my review of this film after reading the new biography ofSpencer Tracy, and after spending several days out in the High Plainsof eastern Colorado, western Nebraska, and western South Dakota.I'm surprised at the general negativity of most reviews here towardthis film. I have a great deal of respect for this film, but I shouldsay up front that I have long been an admirer of Spencer Tracy (secondonly to Cary Grant in my eyes). I think perhaps this film is tooserious to be a "pop" choice. It really is one of the most seriousmovies I've ever seen. There is no frivolity in it, no humor, juststraight dramatic acting. I could almost say that it's not a very"Hollywood" movie.The film begins with an intriguing musical score and settles down in awestern-prairie town that seems more authentic than most. In some waysthis appears to be just another cattleman - versus - farmer story, butI think it is much more than that. In the scene where Tracy talks aboutwhat the High Plains means to him...what he hears in it...well, it's afine soliloquy. The movie is also the story of an Eastern woman -versus - the West. A story about two people who cannot adjust theirviews about life in order to come to an understanding.Another reviewer mentioned the lack of passion between Tracy andHepburn on celluloid. I think that what you see between the two starshere, as well as in other films, is a love based upon deep respect,rather than sex. I'm not sure that it was an issue of age -- he wasonly 7 years older than she. But he had lived a rough life with hisdrinking, and seemed much older than she. So while there may not bepassion between them on screen, there was a wonderful chemistry that isjust as apparent here as in most of their joint efforts. Sincebeginning the biography, I have been watching all of the Tracy filmsgenerally available (and a few you can only find in places such as YouTube), and it's interesting to note that this is the film where Tracyis seemingly suddenly middle-aged and more distinguished looking in hisappearance...and that's perfect for this role. As important is that bythe mid-40s, he had mastered the ability to be subtle and show strengthin that subtlety, and to reserve his powerful outbursts for thosepoints in a film where they are really needed and appropriate.Melvyn Douglas is excellent here, although it's difficult to like hischaracter much. Self-righteous in the beginning and out to get anotherman's wife. He mellows later in the film when he finds he has lost. Inmy view, one of his more impressive roles.One particularly strong scene is where the cattle stampede the farmer'sland during a blizzard. Very profound, even though the scene does notdirectly involve any of the major players.There are a number of great character actors in this film. It's alwaysa treat to see Harry Carey, and he was just wonderful in this film. Andalthough I'm not always a fan, in this film I rather enjoyed the fineperformance of a rather restrained Edgar Buchannan.A couple of minor criticisms. First, note how freely the characterswalk out in the sea of grass. When I was out there, people and signsconstantly warned me about rattlesnakes! And the sod house...I was in areal sod house this past summer...not nearly as "nice" as the oneportrayed in the film. But I will say that the photography MGM didon-site was top notch in terms of portraying the sea of grass. However,actual on-location scenes with Tracy and Hepburn were apparently filmedin Arizona and New Mexico, though I'm guessing supposed location iseastern Colorado and Nebraska, since Tracy speaks of Hepburn having herbaby in Denver.I think this is an excellent, wholly serious film which is well worth asecond look. Highly recommended. And worth putting on your DVD shelf ifyou like serious movies.
g.vecino (22 April 2013)
One thing that surprised me in this movie "The Sea of Grass", as well as inmost movies by Tracy-Hepburn, is the lack of sexuality between them in thelove scenes. When they are about to marry [in the movie] there is nokissing, only hugs. On the contrary twenty minutes later in the movie,Hepburn meets again Melvyn Douglas, who is hopelessly in love with her, andthen they have a passionate kiss. Considering the long relationship of thetwo stars for over thirty years, its funny that the producers or the studio,or who else? not considered proper a passionate kiss between Tracy andHepburn.On the other hand, I enjoyed seeing the movie once again after many years.The Elia Kazan direction is superb and and the secondary roles of actorslike Edgar Buchannan and Harry Carey give luster to the movie, but thecharacter of Tracy is simply hateful.
AliceAnneAllen (22 April 2013)
I had never watched or heard of this wonderful movie, so was notexpecting such a great treat. Worth every minute to watch it. K.Hepburn is so pretty in it, and you want to know her as the colonel'swife.. Spencer Tracy's sense of humor shines through and is just agreat movie. I wanted to see more when she came home again. Makes youwant to move to New Mexico and be a cowgirl.... The only thing I didn'tcare for was the actor playing Brock when he grew up, felt they shouldhave picked someone more handsome and built a little better. Reallyliked the old guy that played the cook. Just a great all around movieWish they would make a remake of it.
Eph612 (21 April 2013)
A western only by virtue of its setting, "The Sea of Grass" isdefinitely one of the oddest in the series of films Spencer Tracy andKatharine Hepburn made together. Though it starts out promisingly, thesoap-opera elements (infidelity, unwanted pregnancy, maritalestrangement) begin to pile up and, as they do, Tracy in particularlooks more and more uncomfortable as the film progresses (though it isadmittedly refreshing seeing him play a man with less noble, sterlingqualities for a change). Hepburn fares better, and she manages to bringa real measure of mature beauty and bruised self-worth to hercharacter. She has a nice, easy chemistry with Melvyn Douglas, and sheseemed surprisingly comfortable and natural in an unusually maternal(for her) role. The photography and costumes are good, and the ending,while contrived, is emotionally satisfying.
Bill Bomar (21 April 2013)
The "Sea of Grass" was bigger than all of the players of the story and asfragile as the love that the Colonel (Tracey) had for Lutie (Hepburn) andshe for him. The Colonel shared with Lutie a vision of the plains hastheyhad been but could not see what could be as he did with his love for her.Lutie, saw the future but could not honor the past. They lost each otherasthe grass was lost when it wasn't cared for. But as with the plains, thegrass could be brought back with care, understanding, and sacrifice. Butperhaps most of all with time. Somewhere between the extremes is a middlepoint but each must leave the extreme to reach the middle. The ColonelandLutie found the middle point but after many years of standing at theextremes. Each of us can find ourselves in what they had, lost, andregained.
jotix100 (20 April 2013)
"The Sea of Grass" showed up on cable recently and out of curiosity, wewatched it, based on the great director at the helm, and the castinvolved in it. Unfortunately, Elia Kazan wasn't up to the task ofdirecting the Conrad Richter novel about the post pioneering days. Infact, this film sort of falls flat as neither Mr. Kazan, or its stars,show any semblance they were much interested in the project.One would imagine that to bring together Spencer Tracy and KatherineHepburn to play the leading roles would inspire the rest of the cast,but alas, it wasn't meant to be. The film is, by no means, a totalfailure, on the contrary, but there are no sparks in it to keep theviewer interested.As someone remarked in this forum, we don't get anything from theColonel and Lutie in the way of love, from the start. For the romancethey were living on the sly, the stars don't light up for the camera togive us a hint they are in love in real life. The only one that showsany spunk is Melvin Douglas, who as Brock, can't hide his love forLutie. The supporting cast is good, with some excellent minorperformances by Phyllis Thaxter, Edgar Buchanan, Ruth Nelson, JamesBell, and the rest.Watch "The Sea of Grass" if there's nothing better playing at the sametime.
Review total: 20, showing from 1 to 20