Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Philadelphia Story

The Philadelphia Story (Two-Disc Special Edition)

#51 (1998) and #44 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 movies list

The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart and featuring Ruth Hussey. Based on the Broadway play of the same name by Philip Barry, the film is about a socialite (Hepburn) whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband (Grant) and a tabloid magazine journalist (Stewart). Written for the screen by Donald Ogden Stewart and an uncredited Waldo Salt, it is considered one of the best examples of a comedy of remarriage, a genre popular in the 1930s and 1940s, in which a couple divorce, flirt with outsiders and then remarry – a useful story-telling ploy at a time when the depiction of extramarital affairs was blocked by the Production Code.

The film was Hepburn's first big hit following several flops, which had led to her being included on a 1939 list that Manhattan movie theater owner Harry Brandt compiled of actors he considered to be "box office poison." She acquired the film rights to the play, which she had also starred in, with the help of Howard Hughes, in order to control it as a vehicle for her movie comeback.

The Philadelphia Story was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two: Stewart for Best Actor and Donald Ogden Stewart for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was remade in 1956 as the musical High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.

The movie was produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1995.

* Cary Grant as C. K. Dexter Haven
* Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord
* James Stewart as Macaulay Connor
* Ruth Hussey as Elizabeth Imbrie
* John Howard as George Kittredge
* Roland Young as William Q. Tracy (Uncle Willie)
* John Halliday as Seth Lord
* Mary Nash as Margaret Lord
* Virginia Weidler as Dinah Lord
* Henry Daniell as Sidney Kidd
* Lionel Pape as Edward, a footman
* Rex Evans as Thomas, the butler
* David Clyde as Mac, the night watchman

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