The Philadelphia Story
True, this is a famous film that caused Kate Hepburn to be catapulted to the top of the movie industry. True, this comedy stars Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, an all-star cast, and that Stewart won a Best Acting Oscar for his role in this movie, even though by all accounts, he shone even brighter in other films. But what is true is that I went to see this movie solely because I had never seen Kate Hepburn, Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart on the big screen before tonight. Thank you TCM and Fanthom Events for making that possible.
The Philadelphia Story is a romantic comedy that is fast-paced, witty from start to finish, about a high-society lady (Hepburn) about to be married for the second time when her ex-husband (Grant) shows up with a writer (Stewart) and photographer (Ruth Hussey) to cover the wedding. The magazine they work for threatens the father with blackmail in order to get the story.
The story was a stage play starring Hepburn when she bought the rights. Her movie career was on the rocks but she sold the story to MGM on condition that she picked the crew and cast. It was the best of Hollywood from top to bottom. I was impressed to learn that Grant charged a huge amount to do the film but then donated the six figure sum to the war relief effort.
The supporting cast has great lines in this movie. Virginia Weidler steals the show every time she entered a scene. You can see her above doing a spoof of "Lydia The Tattooed Lady". I also enjoyed Ruth Hussey and wished she had a bit bigger part but so it goes. There is a great monologue, in one of the few serious moments of the film, by John Halliday on why men cheat on their wives from an angle I had never really thought about until that moment. A handful of jokes early on are dated, especially in the age of the #MeToo movement, but the humor and pace of the movie doesn't rely on them so you barely notice.
This is a great film. Rated 5/5 with the Oscar winning screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, based on Phillip Barry's play. You can stream it online or buy a DVD. You won't be wasting your money or your time.