Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Society gal Tracy (Katharine Hepburn) is getting remarried. Serious writer Macaulay (James Stewart) and his lady-friend photographer (Ruth Hussey) is forced to cover the story (the PHILADEPHIA story, as it were) for Spy magazine. The man to get the reporters inside is Tracy's estranged ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant). They cooperate in exchange for keeping a story about her father's dancing girl affair quite.

Hepburn left Hollywood after a string of bombs, which combined with not playing the Hollywood game, left her with no option. She landed on Broadway and starred in the play this movie is based on. She convinced her (boy?)friend Howard Hughes to buy the rights to the play and sell it to Hollywood for her to star in. It was a huge success and Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar.

The more I watch Grant the more impressed I become. He did mainly lighter fare (and for the most part the same character - the fast talking charmer), but he did it surprisingly well. He was nominated only twice for an academy award and never won. This I understand as he shied away from roles the academy likes to recognize. Eventually he did receive an Honorary ("oops, we missed you") Oscar, While he would never do a movie like Philadelphia, he certainly would never do The Philadelphia Experiment either.

Clearly, Hepburn knew her character well and George Cukor knew how to use the talent. Quick witted, smart, well acted, and well made. Very strong performances all around. The Philadelphia Story is among the best in the Romantic Comedy genre. AMRU 4.
"C'malong, Dexter, I know a formula that's said to pop the pennies off the eyelids of dead Irishmen."

No comments:

Post a Comment