Of the many things that make Katharine Hepburn unique, now or at any other time, the one that most impresses me is her insistence on leading with her intelligence. For attractive women, and especially actresses, the temptation is to fall back on beauty and let everyone around you do the work. The temptation is to let the beauty speak for itself.

Hepburn never seemed content to take the easy route in life. Instead, she constantly pushed herself toward betterment in the classic Yankee mode.

Not only sharp but also iconoclastic, Hepburn lived her own way and way ahead of her time. She seemed to invent her life as she went along – wearing pants long before they were really acceptable for women. To some this may seem a minor fashion detail, but sporting trousers represented a certain independent spirit and freedom of movement that let Hepburn engage in the male world as a full-fledged member.

New on DVD, The Katharine Hepburn Collection presents six little-seen films from the 1930’s to the 1940’s as well as the 1979 film The Corn is Green. Probably most famous for her screwball comedies, like His Girl Friday and her work with off-screen love Spencer Tracy, Hepburn also shined in more dramatic roles.

One of the bright spots in this minor collection is Undercurrent, which pairs Hepburn with Robert Mitchum. The movie depicts Hepburn as young and vulnerable, the classic ingénue part that more recently would go to Anne Hathaway or Rachel McAdams. Hepburn’s earnest and committed performance lets us into the psyche of this naïve newlywed struggling to understand her husband’s demons.

Also in this box set: Morning Glory, Sylvia Scarlett, Without Love and Dragon Seed.

Extras: Oscar-nominated shorts, classic cartoons and theatrical trailers.

Grade: B-

Katharine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection is currently available.