The Philadelphia Story (1940)
C.K. Dexter Haven (Carey Grant) and his wife Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) are headed for divorce from the get go. Several years after their separation, Tracy is getting remarried to rich man who wishes to be anything but like her ex-husband. C.K., who still has feelings for Tracy, agrees to help a reporter named Connor (James Stewart) from Spy Magazine write an article on the wedding instead allowing him to report on her philandering father. All goes well until Connor begins to have feelings for Tracy which C.K. didn’t see coming.
Coming in at # 44 on the AFI Top 100 list, The Philadelphia Story is a blend of comedy and drama in a movie that is basically all dialogue. For a film made in 1940, this is one of the original Romantic Comedies, but with Tracy’s inner turmoil, plenty of drama is included. Regarding the 3 main leads, the acting and charm is top notch. Katherine Hepburn seems to have every man she meets swooning for her even though she is high strung and sometimes just mean. The Philadelphia Story was nominated for 6 Academy Award including 2 wins for screenplay and James Stewart’s acting. As I have said in other posts, it’s hard for me to get into older black and white films, and I felt like I couldn’t follow the story that well, but there was enough plot changes to not be completely lost. Sadly, for a movie that is on the AFI list, I had never heard of the Philadelphia Story, and probably won’t hold it in high regards. Co-starring Ruth Hussey and John Howard.
6/10 Stars – Black and White with too much talk, hard for the 21st century movie goer to stay interested.
If you are a fan of the classics then The Philadelphia Story won’t disappoint. Hepburn is at her best, rattling off her dialogue with a sharp and witty tongue. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone, you have to be a fan of this sort of talk based film because if you don’t appreciate that you won’t be entertained. I enjoyed The Philadelphia Story. It wasn’t the best of the black and whites of this era but it had its moments.
7/10 Stars – A classic Hepburn black and white. Nothing unexpected here.
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