In the early 1930s, Spencer Tracy's truculent attitude and thunderingly aberrant behavior were his only defenses against studio power brokers who cast him as stereotypical con men, buddies and gangsters. But by the end of the decade the actor's on-screen style--seamless naturalism and subtle inflections--had proved the ticket to stardom. A Tracy performance was always more than just action; there was always an undercurrent of mental activity beneath the surface. Stanley Kramer, who directed him in several films, recalls: "I was afraid to say, 'Spencer, you're a great actor. He'd only say, 'Now what the hell kind of thing is that to come out with?' He wanted to know it; he needed to know it. But he didn't want you to say it--just think it. And maybe that was one of the reasons he was a great actor. He thought and listened better than anyone in the history of motion pictures. A silent close-up reaction of Spencer Tracy said it all." Tracy's seemingly effortless approach earned him the respect of his peers, helping him to become one of the most distinguished and venerated actors of his generation.