It's hard to imagine that Katharine Hepburn, the matriarch of America's acting blue bloods, was once considered 'box-office poison'. Still, in the long run it did her little harm. Labelled as such by the nation's exhibitors in 1938, the sassy actress looked for a Broadway show that would do justice to her talents. What she found not only brought her further stage success but fame, fortune and an Oscar nomination. Playwright Philip Barry wrote the part of spoiled socialite Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story (Pearl, 1.55pm) especially for Hepburn. The actress, convinced of the play's charm, covered 25 per cent of the play's costs, took no salary and opted for a huge percentage of the profits. Even more cannily, she bought the film rights and when she eventually sold them to Louis B Mayer for US$250,000 the deal included the right to select her own director, screenwriter and co-stars. As a result, the film starred two of Hollywood's most adored male stars, Cary Grant and James Stewart, in roles that suited them perfectly, and was directed by the man with the perfect pitch, George Cukor. If you haven't seen the nearly 60-year-old comedy, the plot concerns the impending marriage of rich girl Lord (Hepburn) to a stuffy coal company executive (John Howard). Her ex-husband (Grant) turns up at the family estate with a couple of sleaze journalists (one being Stewart) to try to protect the family's reputation. Grant insisted on top billing and a salary of a then massive US$137,000 (though he later donated it to the British War Relief Fund), but it is Stewart who shines the most, earning an Oscar for his role of the fast-talking reporter. No one can help but be moved by The Story Of Qiu Ju (World, 9.35pm). The beautiful Gong Li (transformed into a relatively ordinary peasant) plays the title role, a woman determined to receive a verbal apology for her husband's beating by the obstinate head of the village. Heavily pregnant, she travels to the city to attend court. Exquisitely filmed and deftly handled, director Zhang Yimou depicts rural life in China and examines the bureaucracy that so often gets in the way of people's needs. Inevitably, the minutae of the movie is better seen on the big screen. But it is a powerful, potent and sometimes distressing film, anyway. So obsessed is Hong Kong television with Tinseltown that we have two shows, one after the other, with Hollywood in the title. Hollywood Pets (Pearl, 8pm) looks at the lifestyles of the most pampered acting animals and Wild Hollywood (Pearl, 8.30pm), a Movie Magic special, looks at how wild creatures are brought to the big screen, from ILM's computer-generated stampede in Jumanji to Jim Carrey's animal co-stars in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Today's films include Watch It (Pearl, 12.15pm) about a group of men who deal with women and life with varying levels of maturity while playing a continuous game of one-upmanship with each other. Company Executives (Pearl, midnight) deals with the goings-on at senior level in the office of a Japanese newspaper corporation, including secret affairs, sudden heart attacks, attempted suicide, forced resignations, divided factions . . . an average day in the media world.