VHS / DVD
A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Release
Produced: January 1956
Filmed on location outside Buckingham Palace - Westminister - London - England - UK
outside Piccadilly Circus - Piccadilly - London - England - UK
and at Pinewood Studios - Iver Heath - England - UK
Premiere: December 12, 1956
Captain Vinka Kovelenko, of the Russian Air Force, angered at being passed over for military awards, flies a MIG to an American base in Germany. Flier Chuck Lockwood is assigned to convert her to democracy but she tries, simultaneously, to show him the advantages of communism. They go to London where she succumbs to the fleshpots of capitalism and soon abandons her uniform for frilly feminine things, drinks champagne and vodka, and ends up falling in love. Alerted to the situation, the Russian Embassy arranges to have her kidnapped and take her back to Moscow.
Hollis Alpert - The Saturday Review - 1956
"There were rumors that some of Miss Hepburn's stuff was cut out, and there were reports of feuding between Hope and Hecht, who was originally engaged for the screenplay. At any rate, the screenplay credit on the picture goes begging. Everyone else is on hand to face the music."
William K. Zinsser - New York Herald Tribune - 1956
"'Vy you are smilink?' Katharine Hepburn asks Bob Hope, trying her best to sound like a Russian, in The Iron Petticoat. Nobody's smilink. In fact, for Hepburn and Hope fans, this should be a day of cryink. They seem amazed to find themselves in a comedy that has no humor, and they go through the motions grimly, like children at dancing school, hoping it will all be over soon. When Miss Hepburn, encased in an army uniform that does nothing for her lissom figure, turns to Hope and says 'I was vorried,' she has good reason."
What Kate had to say
What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say
"This dame is terrific - an expert in her craft and so electrifying on set that if you don't watch out, you're likely to wind up as part of the scenery."
"We got to England and started work. Bob Hope was added to the package as her co-star; I think she liked the challenge of working with a professional comic. She was marvelous to work with. I wish I had made the picture when I was a little more experienced, because of the problem of handling these very diverse personalities. Really, they were playing in two different pictures: she was a mistress of light, sophisticated, romantic comedy, he was much broader, and eventually I didn't so much direct the picture as watch them in action, with a strong bias in her favour. She understood all the problems, she gave everything she had, she is the most cooperative person that ever breathed, and even when it was obvious the picture wasn't working out, that we were headed for disaster, she never lost her spirit. She played with total truth, but it was very difficult for her to perform with someone whose stock in trade was telling funny stories."
Ben Hecht (who asked to be removed from the credits)
- in an advertisement he took out in The Hollywood Reporter - circa 1957
"Although her magnificent comic performance has been blow-torched out of the film, there is enough left of the Hepburn footage to identify her for her sharpshooters. I am assured by my hopeful predators that The Iron Petticoat will go over big with people 'who can't get enough of Bob Hope.'"
Kate Remembered - Scott Berg - 2003
"In the midst of this third flowering of her career, Hepburn got snookered into what she would always consider the worst film on her resume. Spencer Tracy discreetly accompanied her to London, where Bobby Helpmann [Sir Robert Helpmann] had induced her into costarring with him in a film called The Iron Petticoat. It was a knockoff of Ninotschka, with Hepburn playing a coldhearted captain in the Russian Air Force who spars with an American pilot about communism, only to warm up to the comforts of the capitalism. Her leading man was to be Bob Hope! Hepburn knew that going in: but with a script by Ben Hecht that was witty enough, she felt safe. She did not know that Bob Hope was, as she later recounted 'the biggest egomaniac with whom I have worked with in my entire life.' Nor did she know that he would immediately turn the picture 'into his cheap vaudeville act with me as his stooge.' Hope brought in his own team of writers to punch up his lines, and he shamelessly ad-libbed. 'I had been sold a false bill of goods,' Kate later explained. 'I was told that this was not going to be a typical Bob Hope movie, that he wanted to appear in a contemporary comedy. That proved no to be the case.' Kate claimed never to have seen the finished product."