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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » The Philadelphia Story » User review

A 1940 FIlm Starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart

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Katharine Hepburn, tipsy: "My insteps are melting." 'Nuff said.

  • Jan 31, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
The Philadelphia Story is one of those movies where it's hard to decide which element is best: the stars themselves (Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart -- who won Best Actor Oscar); the writing (the later blacklisted Donald Ogden Stewart, who also wrote Love Affair); the directing (George Cukor) -- or just the stars' chemistry.

A quick rundown of the plot:  Wealthy, haughty Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord  is preparing for her second marriage, to proper, pretentious George Kittredge. Enter Dexter Haven, her first husband, and Macaulay Connor and Liz Imbrie -- reporters from Spy magazine.  Dexter hasn't given up on Tracy, and Mac is dazzled by her -- despite his distrust and scorn for the wealthy. What follows is some of the wittier, pithier dialogue ever written -- as the two men try to help Tracy discover the heart beneath her holier-than-thou exterior, and as she fights them every step of the way.

Why I love this movie:  it's romantic without being sappy.  It's absolutely a joy to watch Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn go at it, verbally.  It manages to poke gentle fun at both the tabloids and our love/hate relationship with them.   And when Tracy actually gets drunk one night -- though it's hard to imagine, across the decades, from our Van Wilder and American Pie vantage point -- it's a scandal that breaks her heart, as she sees she's not as perfect as she thought she was.

Note: some of the society stuff may seem a little foreign; and it's a very "white" movie -- but even so, I truly enjoyed it.

Watch it, and remember the days when the dialogue, the cast, and a little bit of a neatly packaged wacky ending could make a movie thoroughly satisfying.


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January 31, 2009
This is possibly my daughter's favorite film--this, or BRINGING UP BABY. But my vote goes to this since she has both a black and white and colorized copy. Anything with Grant AND Hepburn in it by definition must be great. I love your combining the words wittier and pithier.They're fun to say togther; wittier and pithier. They rather make me feel like Kate Hepburn when I say them alound. Wittier and pithier.
 
January 31, 2009
"What's amazing to me is that this is a romantic comedy, although it doesn't even feel fair to compare it to what we use the term on these days." Perfect insight. I wish I could bookmark that somehow.
 
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More The Philadelphia Story reviews
review by . May 10, 2009
It's hard to imagine a wonderful actress, like Kate Hepburn, being called "box-office poison," but that's exactly what happened in the 1930's.  This is the film that turned her career around & it's easy to see why.  Director George Cukor was a good friend of Hepburn's & they had worked together many times, so he knew how to make her look good.    On advice from a friend, she purchased the rights for the movie & had her choice of co-stars.  It's …
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About this movie

Wiki

Here comes the bride!  And the ex-husband.  And a gossip-rag columnist on assignment.  Here come Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, & James Stewart in a peerless comedy romance (directed by George Cukor) about a faultfinding, bride-to-be socialite who gets her comeuppance and an unexpected Mr. Right.

After being labeled "box-office poison," Hepburn rekindled her stardom with a beguiling reprise of her 1939 Broadway role.  Top billed Grand demanded and got a then-colossal $137,000 salary-donating it to British War Relief.  And Stewart won his only Best Actor Academy Award as the wisecracking scribe.  (Writer Donald Ogden Stewart won the film's second Oscar for adapting Phillip Barry's play).  In 1998, Story's success story continued when it made the American Film Institute's 100 Best American Film's list.

(Taken from the DVD description)
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Details

Director: George Cukor
Genre: Classics
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: May 2, 2000
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Studio: Turner Entertainment Co. & Warner Br
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