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Philadelphia Story
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The Philadelphia Story

5.0 11
Director: George Cukor

Cast: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart


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We open on Philadelphia socialite C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) as he's being tossed out of his palatial home by his wife, Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn). Adding insult to injury, Tracy breaks one of C.K.'s precious golf clubs. He gallantly responds by knocking her down on her million-dollar keester. A couple of years after the breakup, Tracy is about to marry George


We open on Philadelphia socialite C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) as he's being tossed out of his palatial home by his wife, Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn). Adding insult to injury, Tracy breaks one of C.K.'s precious golf clubs. He gallantly responds by knocking her down on her million-dollar keester. A couple of years after the breakup, Tracy is about to marry George Kittridge (John Howard), a wealthy stuffed shirt whose principal recommendation is that he's not a Philadelphia "mainliner," as C.K. was. Still holding a torch for Tracy, C.K. is galvanized into action when he learns that Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell), the publisher of Spy Magazine, plans to publish an exposé concerning Tracy's philandering father (John Halliday). To keep Kidd from spilling the beans, C.K. agrees to smuggle Spy reporter Macauley Connor (James Stewart) and photographer Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) into the exclusive Lord-Kittridge wedding ceremony. How could C.K. have foreseen that Connor would fall in love with Tracy, thereby nearly lousing up the nuptials? As it turns out, of course, it is C.K. himself who pulls the "louse-up," reclaiming Tracy as his bride. A consistently bright, bubbly, witty delight, The Philadelphia Story could just as well have been titled "The Revenge of Katharine Hepburn." Having been written off as "box-office poison" in 1938, Hepburn returned to Broadway in a vehicle tailor-made for her talents by playwright Philip Barry. That property, of course, was The Philadelphia Story; and when MGM bought the rights to this sure-fire box-office success, it had to take Hepburn along with the package -- and also her veto as to who her producer, director, and co-stars would be. Her strategy paid off: after the film's release, Hepburn was back on top of the Hollywood heap. While she didn't win the Oscar that many thought she richly deserved, the little gold statuette was bestowed upon her co-star Stewart, perhaps as compensation for his non-win for 1939's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Donald Ogden Stewart (no relation to Jimmy) also copped an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Philadelphia Story was remade in 1956 with a Cole Porter musical score as High Society.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
Timeless entertainment from the glory days of the studio system, The Philadelphia Story set the standard for witty, adult romantic comedy. Main Line heiress Tracy Lord Dexter-Haven (Katharine Hepburn) is about to be married to a social-climbing businessman when her first husband (Cary Grant) crashes the festivities with a pair of reporters from a tabloid magazine (James Stewart and Ruth Hussy). Hepburn, hot off the success of Philip Barry's Holiday, commissioned the playwright to craft The Philadelphia Story as both a Broadway and a Hollywood vehicle in the hopes of reviving her sagging film career. Consequently, the role is perfectly tailored for her somewhat brittle and mannered style. As Hepburn battles with a typically charming Grant and flirts with an atypically confident Stewart, we see that the brittleness is a camouflage for long-denied passion and vulnerability. Stewart nabbed the Best Actor Oscar, and so-called "women's" director George Cukor gets delightful performances from the entire cast.
All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Playwright Philip Barry reportedly based the central character of The Philadelphia Story on Katharine Hepburn's brittle public persona, so it should be little surprise that she plays the part so well. The film is a quick-witted translation of the play, essentially a parlor drama with witty, Oscar Wilde-like banter and glib repartee from nearly every actor. There are moments of rare beauty in the dialogue, even if director George Cukor rarely uses them to give the film more visual flair or energy. The story both spoofs and plays sly homage to Clifford Odets' earnest socialist dramas, in which kind-hearted socialites learn to love and admire the working poor -- except that, in The Philadelphia Story, Hepburn turns her back on the working-class hero and returns to her own kind, the aristocratic, debonair, completely irresistible Cary Grant (who does a wonderful job of being...Cary Grant). The aristocrats are well-skewered by the delightful screenplay, and James Stewart is excellent as the cynical but smitten reporter, in a performance that won him his only Academy Award. Donald Ogden Stewart's faithful adaptation of the Barry play was also recognized by the Academy. High Society, the 1956 musical version of this story, was moderately successful, but not in the same classic league.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by historian Jeanine Basinger; George Cukor movie trailer gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant C.K. Dexter Haven
Katharine Hepburn Tracy Lord
James Stewart Macauley Connor
Ruth Hussey Liz Imbrie
John Howard George Kittredge
Roland Young Uncle Willie
John Halliday Seth Lord
Mary Nash Margaret Lord
Virginia Weidler Dinah Lord
Henry Daniell Sidney Kidd
Lionel Pape Edward
Rex Evans Thomas
Hillary Brooke Mainliner
Veda Buckland Elsie
Lita Chevret Manicurist
David Clyde Mac the night watchman
Dorothy Fay Main Line Society Woman
Claude King Willie's Butler
Florine McKinney Main Line Society Woman
Lee Phelps Bartender
Hilda Plowright Librarian
Helene Whitney Main Line Society Woman
Russ Clark John

Technical Credits
George Cukor Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack Dawn Makeup
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Joseph L. Mankiewicz Producer
Wade B. Rubottom Art Director
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Waldo Salt Screenwriter
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Donald Ogden Stewart Screenwriter
Frank Sullivan Editor
Franz Waxman Score Composer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Philadelphia Story
1. Credits [1:35]
2. Uncoupling [:42]
3. Bride's High Standards [3:56]
4. George Saddles Up [3:21]
5. The Philadelphia Story [4:07]
6. Spies Invade the Manor [4:12]
7. Dexter's Small Blackmail [5:38]
8. Lydia the Tattooed Lady [3:13]
9. Tracy Meets the Press [3:29]
10. The Family For Lunch [5:39]
11. Library Research [3:25]
12. Patron Lady [2:55]
13. Virgin Goddess [5:19]
14. "My, She Was Yar" [4:14]
15. Right Kind of Daughter [3:48]
16. Exposed and Pinched [2:05]
17. Drinks For Everyone [4:47]
18. Talkative Visitor [5:28]
19. Class System [:33]
20. Hearthfires and Holocausts [5:57]
21. Advice to Liz [3:03]
22. The Mighty Fallen [1:58]
23. Eye Openers [4:41]
24. Dinah's Dream [4:13]
25. Missing Memory and Watch [2:45]
26. Not Very Yar [3:35]
27. George's Letter [5:20]
28. There Goes the Groom [3:48]
29. Tracy's Announcement [2:44]
30. Cast List [4:45]


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The Philadelphia Story 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hilarious: One of the funniest and interesting films of it's time. With great's like Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James  Stewart. Even a wonderful performance by Ruth Hussey. This film is a must have and a treasure to the business!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite old black and white movies. It is superb and so is the cast but especially Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart. The movie has some wonderful witty dialoge and I highly recommend buying it on DVD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this film. It is the quintessential romantic comedy. Each performance from the legendary Stewart, Grant, and Hepburn is classic and timeless. After a disappointing loss the year before for Best Actor, Jimmy Stewart nabbed it in 1940 for this film. I love it! A great choice for any classic film fan!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Philadelphia Story is a wonderful film! One of Cary Grant's Best! Definitely a classic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's timeless film that age very well. It prove that the people hasn't change at all. I was very entertaining by this film and Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn are at their best. The story will rivet your eyes to the screen and will keep you being entertaining.
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