The Philadelphia Story (1940)

DailyView: Day 200, Movie 285

The third film today on day 200 of the DailyView is an old Hollywood classic, The Philadelphia Story starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart and produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

The film started off with a break up, as C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) was storming out of the house, followed by an equally angry Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn). She broke his golf club and he pushed her to the ground. It was clear that their marriage was on the rocks.

Flashing forward, Tracy was engaged to George Kittredge (John Howard) and scheduled to have a large wedding. Spy Magazine publisher Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell) wanted the story so he sent writer Macaulay “Mike” Connor (Jimmy Stewart) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) to the Lord home pretending to be friends of the absentee brother. They were to get the story of the marriage and any other specific morsels they could find.

C.K. Dexter helped get the pair into the house and he hung around to see what other trouble he could cause.

I have to say, I was supposed to be rooting for C.K. Dexter Haven but when he shoved Tracy to the ground, I immediately took a dislike to him. There was an implication that he “socked” her (as said by the little sister) and so I pictured an abusive husband, especially since he was portrayed as a drunk. After this, C.K. was supposed to have sobered up, but I still never saw any reason to cheer for him outside of the fact that he was Cary Grant.

Katharine Hepburn was a very confused character, never being sure exactly what she felt or what she should do. People around her were always telling her that she carried herself like a goddess or that she saw herself above others and all of that played against her confidence.

The film had plenty of comedic elements to it, and the finale is played with a lot of unexpectedness. I like Jimmy Stewart quite a bit and I enjoyed his character here too. There was too much use of alcohol to push the plot ahead, but 1940 was a different time for sure.

The Philadelphia Story was enjoyable, but the romantic relationships were a little shaky. It had some messaging about class as well, but it slid aside for the main plot.

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