Saturday, July 16, 2011

#349: The Philadelphia Story

Directed by: GEORGE CUKOR
1940, TSPDT Rank #156

With a cast featuring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart, there's not really a way this romantic screwball comedy could fail. Grant plays a role that he specialized in around this time period, of a man technically out of a relationship but continually hanging around and sticking his foot back in the metaphorical door. He's hilarious, and this movie provides one of Hepburn's great film roles, as an irresistible society heiress engaged to be married to an upright citizen (played by John Howard) who she doesn't love but who is the exact opposite of Grant's Dexter Haven, her former husband. Stewart adds another facet to the plot as a newspaper reporter, who pursues Hepburn romantically while covering her for a society column feature, despite her upcoming marriage, and the fact that he is inevitably paired with his standby photographer (played by Ruth Hussey). Besides all of this, the film supplies one of the few funny, enjoyable, and actually NOT annoying (!) child actors, with Virginia Weidler portraying Hepburn's witty younger sister. Although its not the funniest of the classic screwball comedies, it's one of the more directly romantic, and it relies on its two main assets, the wonderful cast, and the nearly dizzying romantic plot, to make up for a lower level of all-out comedy. Definitely not worth missing.

(Rating: 8/10)

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