In George Steven's "Alice Adams" (1935) Katharine Hepburn is both arch and lyrical as the upwardly hopeful daughter of an unlucky clerk. With her piercing voice, knife-like posture and switchblade limbs, Hepburn is still "Hepburn." But she uses her individualistic talents to strike never-before-heard notes of triumph or despair - and to touch universal emotions. When Alice tries to put on airs, you simultaneously wince and laugh. Few American movies rival this social comedy-drama's acute class consciousness.
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