Director: George Cukor
Original Release: 1940
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The story, I have to admit, is very silly. Tracy Lord, a Philadelphia aristocrat played by Katharine Hepburn, is getting married. Unfortunately, her ex-husband (Cary Grant) has just turned up with a tabloid journalist (Jimmy Stewart) and photographer (Ruth Hussey) in tow. The family has to let them stay because there's a dirty blackmail threat aimed at Tracy's philandering father. While Tracy is certainly a strong female character, the sexual politics of the story are frequently obnoxious.
Not much of a sell. What's so great about the movie, Squid?
The writing. Oh my lord, the writing! The Philadelphia Story is one of those films with dialogue that trips off the tongue and floats across the screen. A small sampling:
Mike (Stewart): Doggone it, C.K. Dexter Haven. Either I'm gonna sock you or you're gonna sock me.
C.K. (Grant): Shall we toss a coin?
Tracy: Thank you, Mike. I think men are wonderful.
Liz (Hussey): The little dears.
Tracy: South Bend, it sounds almost like dancing.
Liz: Wouldn't you know you'd have to be rich as the Lords to live in a dump like this?
The cast is rock solid, top to bottom. Hepburn, Grant and Stewart are all in top form and Hussey (my favorite) ably matches the heavyweights swing for swing. Stewart won his only Oscar for his role. The screenwriter, Donald Ogden Stewart, also won, adapting Philip Barry's stage play of the same name. Hepburn and Hussey were both nominated.
- I'm pretty sure Our Girl doesn't like the movie. She never comes out and says that because I think she realizes how much we like it but she tends to squirm when we watch. I expect most of the humor goes over her head but we're hopeful she'll learn to love it in time.