71 / 365 – ‘The Philadelphia Story’ (1940) – 112 mins
IMDb Challenge #40 / 250 – Ranked #235 – Via DVD Collection
Philadelphia heiress Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) throws out her playboy husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) shortly after their marriage. Two years later, Tracy is about to marry respectable George Kittredge whilst Dexter has been working for “Spy” magazine. Dexter arrives at the Lord’s mansion the day before the wedding with writer Macaulay Connor (James Stewart) and photographer Liz Imbrie, determined to spoil things.
Directed by George Cukor (‘A Star Is Born’ ‘My Fair Lady’), ‘The Philadelphia Story’ creates memorable characters you’ll want to spend time with over and over again. At least I do.
The magical winning formula in comes from its oscar winning script, which is of the highest quality and too where not a single word is wasted. One beautifully crafted scene is the moment when Tracy attempts to drunkenly slur her way through the lyrics to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, to James Stewart’s character Macaulay Connor. Despite being nominated for some truly unforgettable performances throughout his career, this was criminally the only time Stewart would win the Best Actor Oscar.
Hepburn and Grant give off flair and smouldering intimacy, in what was to be their fourth (‘Bringing Up Baby’ ‘Holiday’ ‘Sylvia Scarlett’) and final on-screen pairing together and its amazing to think their careers never crossed again – considering what they prodigiously outputted afterwards.
I have watched ‘The Philadelphia Story’ countless times and despite it now being 70 years old it is still such a joy and pleasure to watch every single time. If you’re looking for an intelligent, honest, sophisticated romantic comedy where everything as an exquisite sense of timing, you won’t do much better than this. The Philadelphia Story captures not only its’ cast, but its’ director at their prime. There are reasons a movie becomes a defining and infinite classic and this one encompasses every one.