Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Philadelphia Story (1940)


Comedy | Romance


George Cukor




Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young, John Halliday, Mary Nash, Virginia Weidler, Henry Daniell, Lionel Pape, Rex Evans, David Clyde


In the days before her second wedding, her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a reporter (James Stewart) show up at Tracy Lord's (Katharine Hepburn) doorstep and force her to choose among her past, her present and her new love.


I can't stand romantic comedies; they are cheese, predictable and just not my thing. There's a thing, however, with old movies that makes me love the genre, and "The Philadelphia Story", as the brilliant and sophisticated comedy it as, falls exactly into that category.

The story is one of the reasons it works so well. Light-hearted and fun, it is partly a comedy, partly a character study and partly a romance, and it's all well blended together and, although there are some minor plot twists only at the end, it is very interesting and engaging. I couldn't help but wonder for the entire time whether she would go back to her ex-husband, marry the new man or run away with the newcomer. I was really hoping the last. What I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty sure it's impossible to watch the film and not find yourself rooting for one of the guys.

The film is also provided with such a great and fast-paced dialogue that every single romantic comedy out there would or maybe should envy. It is so witty and fascinating, it will keep you entertained.

And then there is the comedy. It's not fun in a silly way but in a rather smart one, and that's because of the film's leading trio who deliver it beautifully. It sure wouldn't be the same without the beautiful and charming Katharine Hepburn whose comic timing is simply superb, or without the elegant and funny Cary Grant who has a fantastic chemistry with Hepburn making this romance so much better, or without the hilarious James Stewart who steals the show and rightly won and Oscar for it.


  1. I love this movie! It is witty, cutting but with heart and I'm with you about romance stories...I can't stand Love Story and The Notebook I found irritating except when James Garner and Gena Rowland's was on. Katherine Hepburn played this role on Broadway and wanted Spencer Tracy for the Cary Grant role but she couldn't get him. She secured to rights to the play so she got to decide who would be in the picture. Only James Stewart could say those words when he spills his love to the haughty Katherine and we buy into it. In lesser hands we would have been laughing

    1. I tried to watch The Notebook once and I stopped after 10 minutes. I couldn't stand it any longer.