[PASSNOTES] THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)

By on February 13th, 2015

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story (1940) Dir. George Cukor – QFT Belfast 14th Feb

Who’ in it? James Stewart, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn

What’s it about?My Fair Lady director George Cukor brought together three Hollywood legends for this old school rom-com in which Hepburn’s headstrong socialite has her wedding plans scuppered by the arrival of ex-husband (Grant) and Jimmy Stewart’s charming and handsome young reporter. A situation comedy which, known at the time as a comedy of remarriage – in which a couple separate, flirt with other suitors and end up back with their spouse, the film mirrored the Hollywood Production Code of the day which prohibited the depiction of extra-marital affairs. The film was secured by Hepburn as a vehicle to help her re-launch her self as a serious box office contender, something Louis B Meyer was skeptical of given the star’s recent box office flops, so much so that he enlisted two known A-list quantities in Grant and Stewart to shore up what was at the time a bit of a gamble. Nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two, Best Actor for Stewart as well as Best Adapted Screenplay, it was a gamble that paid off for MGM, being selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1995.

Memorable Moments? The sequence in which Jimmy Stewart arrives at Cary Grant’s house the worse for wear after a night out is one of the scenes credited for winning Jimmy Stewart his Oscar. Stewart gets steadily more and more drunk showing off his astounding technical ability and natural talent.

Look who’s talking: ‘Offering a wonderfully witty script, spotless direction from George Cukor, and typically excellent lead performances, The Philadelphia Story is an unqualified classic.’ -Rotten Tomatoes

Like that? Try this: Bringing Up Baby (1938), sees Hepburn cast again as the kooky aristocrat (with pet leopard in tow) opposite Cary Grant’s straight laced paleontologist.

Trivia pursuit: Cary Grant donated his fee to the War Relief Fund.

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