A rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid reporter show up on the eve of
her second marriage, and she learns some unpleasant truths about herself.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Directed by George Cukor
Written by Donald Ogden Stewart
Starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Virginia Weidler, Roland Young, John Halliday
Based on the stage play by Philip Barry
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (James Stewart), Best Adapted Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn), Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Hussey), Best Director
The Philadelphia Story is a delightful romantic comedy that excels thanks to the flawless performances from its three leads, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart. It's wholesome, witty comedy that still holds up 80 years later. The story is a bit convoluted at times, thanks to the numerous deceptions that are played for laughs, but the performances are so damn entertaining and hilarious that it all works out. This is one of the most significant and popular films of old Hollywood.
Hepburn is Tracy Lord, a rich, spoiled, somewhat arrogant heiress who is about to get married to lower class coal mine manager George Kittredge (Howard). Her ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Grant) devises a scheme to blackmail her into letting two journalists do a story on her wedding. One of the journalists is Macaulay Connor (Stewart, in a hilarious, scene-stealing performance), who falls in love with Tracy on the night of a drunken stupor. Over the course of a few days leading up to the wedding, Tracy learns some important truths about herself, not all of which are pleasant. All the while, Dexter, George, and Mike, are competing for Tracy's affections, and in the end, her choice may surprise you.
Katharine Hepburn was known for playing strong, independent characters, because that's who she was in real life. Her performance as Tracy Lord is endearing because she had such great charisma. Same goes with Cary Grant and James Stewart. Both of them were so damn likable, and seeing the three of them together is just unreal. The Philadelphia Story is funny and sweet, and as I said, it still holds up.