Hepburn adds spice to TV drama
New York — ``Chippendale'' is what her neighbor calls Mrs. Delafield. ``She carried the flag of privilege and held it high.'' Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (CBS, Sunday, 9-11 p.m.) is a drama about snooty people with highfalutin ideas about their places in society. It is filled with outmoded attitudes toward religious differences, money, and human relationships -- most of which are handled simplistically in the corny script by James Prideaux.
But ``Mrs. Delafield'' has one big advantage: it stars Katharine Hepburn in a role that showcases her theatrical presence -- her intelligence as well as her cheekbones. She is everybody's dream of the perfect Auntie -- sensitive, understanding, high-spirited, resilient, and well-dressed and groomed to top it off.
``Mrs. Delafield'' concerns a romance between an elderly widow and her not-quite-as-elderly suitor. She is an aristocratic ``WASP'' from the right side of town, while he is a divorced Jewish physician from across the figurative tracks. They carry on like teen-aged lovers, to the despair of family and friends, who believe they should ``act their age.'' And, incidentally, not change their wills. Almost all the family and friends are stereotypes, while the elderly lovers, by contrast, are appealingly off-beat.
Both lovers face the family opposition straightforwardly. When Mrs. Delafield's children insist that Dr. Elias, played with restrained skill by Harold Gould, ``is not our kind,'' she responds: ``No, he's not and that's part of what's so wonderful.''
Both the elderly lovers realize that much of the harm is being done in the name of love.
``Love,'' Mrs. Delafield concludes, ``has many faces and some of them are terrifying.'' And that's about as deep as the script delves.
Directed by George Schaefer with delicate sensibility, ``Mrs. Delafield'' walks a thin line, between heavy-handed satire, outdated social conscience and lighthearted fun. But as long as ``the divine Kate'' makes her scheduled entrances, this slight but entrancing bit of fluff has at least an air of significance.