Classic Movie Impressions: The Philadelphia Story

All summer Lisa from Boondock Ramblings and I have been trading old movie suggestions back and forth – this time around I suggested Breakfast at Tiffany’s for Lisa, and she suggested The Philadelphia Story for me. Two different Hepburns for us, and not even related which was always weird to me. Also, my third Cary Grant movie in a row!

You can find Lisa’s review here!

This one was a bit of a slow starter for me, but once it all got rolling I was chuckling and laughing at the smart remarks and sitting forward in my seat, just totally 100% engaged.

Katharine Hepburn stars as Tracy Lords, former wife of C. K. Dexter Haven (Grant). Lord is engaged to remarry, this time to a man named George Kitteredge, who didn’t come from money as Lord did, but was instead a self-made businessman. Throughout this movie there is a whole theme of class distinctions, underlying the romantic comedy, which I found very interesting.

Enter the “common man, the working man” James Stewart as McCauley (Mike) Connor, a writer, and photographer Liz Imbrie. They are asked to do the impossible – get a tabloid style inside scoop on the marriage and wedding. The haughty Lord family is notoriously difficult to pin down for interviews and stories, and anyone who grabs this story will be pulling off something big. However, of course there is a scheme to get Connor and Imbrie inside the walls of the Lord mansion – they must pose as friends of Tracy’s brother, Junius, who is in South America. They hide their true purpose which is to report to Spy Magazine. Connor is not super enthused about this job, as he considers himself a serious writer and doesn’t want to be involved in such a junky piece. However, Imbrie reminds him he probably wants to eat and pay his bills, so he takes the job. Also apparently, Imbrie and Connor are something of a couple as well.

Ok, phew the gang is now all in the house, at the center of the action. Connor, Imbrie, Kitteredge, Lord and her family, and Haven as well, who informs the Lord family that if they don’t play along with the story, a scandalous story about the infidelities of Lord’s father will be published instead. And from here the story takes off, with Lord being accused/compared to no less than a goddess, a queen, a statue, made of bronze – all implying that she believes she is above everyone, and unfeeling. All she wants is to be loved, really loved for herself.

I can picture Hepburn as a queen or a goddess, to be fair. Her presence is so regal, and she has a bearing that makes one sit up and pay attention. She is absolutely gorgeous, but there is something about her as well, a vibe that makes you not want to cross her.

Stewart was hands down my favorite in this movie – sorry, C.G. His performance rocked. He made me laugh with his little comments, and then surprised me with how his character truly transformed, falling under the spell of the self-assured, outspoken, beautiful Lord.

We see the facade of Lord begin to fall as well, and see the woman underneath on the night before the wedding. She intentionally sets out to get soused, and an equally soused Stewart sees her home. They dance and sing and canoodle in the garden in the wee morning hours, and well…things get a little crazy! I will leave it at that.

I completely loved this movie – although, To Catch a Thief still holds the crown for my favorite classic so far this summer!

13 thoughts on “Classic Movie Impressions: The Philadelphia Story

  1. Pingback: Classic movie impressions: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (with spoilers) | Boondock Ramblings

  2. And that’s why Jimmy Stewart won the Oscar. A pitch perfect performance. When you have a chance, watch the musical version, High Society, with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. I don’t think it matches the original but it’s a delightful fun film.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a favorite of mine too but I will admit that it started slow for me as well. I loved to see a different side to Stewart in it. It isn’t my favorite Cary Grant film but it’s up there. Gosh, now I’m thinking about what my favorite Grant film is. I love how funny and goofy he is in The Bachelor and The Bobby-Soxer with Myrna Lloyd and Shirley Temple. I think that performance shows a really fun side of him. That and Mr. Blandings Builds a House.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: My Sunday-Monday Post! – Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs..

  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed this! This is one of my favorites and in my opinion one of Katharine Hepburn’s best. There’s a musical version that was done a bit later with Grace Kelly in Hepburn’s role, Frank Sinatra in Jimmy Stewart’s, and Bing Crosby in Cary Grant’s. It’s called High Society and isn’t nearly as good but might be fun to watch and contrast.

    Liked by 1 person

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