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The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 17 January 1941 (USA)
When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

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(screen play), (based on the play by)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Lionel Pape ...
Edward
Rex Evans ...
Thomas
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Storyline

Philadelphia socialites Tracy Lord and C.K. Dexter Haven married impulsively, with their marriage and subsequent divorce being equally passionate. They broke up when Dexter's drinking became excessive, it a mechanism to cope with Tracy's unforgiving manner to the imperfect, imperfections which Dexter admits he readily has. Two years after their break-up, Tracy is about to remarry, the ceremony to take place at the Lord mansion. Tracy's bridegroom is nouveau riche businessman and aspiring politician George Kittredge, who is otherwise a rather ordinary man and who idolizes Tracy. The day before the wedding, three unexpected guests show up at the Lord mansion: Macaulay Connor (Mike to his friends), Elizabeth Imbrie - the two who are friends of Tracy's absent brother, Junius- and Dexter himself. Dexter, an employee of the tabloid Spy magazine, made a deal with its publisher and editor Sidney Kidd to get a story on Tracy's wedding - the wedding of the year - in return for Kidd not ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Uncle Leo's bedtime story for you older tots! The things they do among the playful rich - Oh, boy! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

17 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht vor der Hochzeit  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot in eight weeks, and required no retakes. During the scene where James Stewart hiccups when drunk, you can see Cary Grant looking down and grinning. Since the hiccup wasn't scripted, Grant was on the verge of breaking out laughing and had to compose himself quickly. Stewart thought of hiccuping in the drunk scene himself, without telling Grant. When he began hiccuping, Grant turned to Stewart saying, "Excuse me." The scene required only one take. See more »

Goofs

When Tracy and George talk at the party the night before the wedding, George informs her that "it's after four" in the morning. After that, several hours of activity take place, but it's still dark outside when they all eventually go to bed. Assuming that all this takes place in the Summer months, Mike's visit to Dexter's house, Liz's arrival at Dexter's and the typing up of the letter, Tracy and Mike's dancing and swim, and Georges arrival on the scene and argument with Tracy and Mike should all have taken place in the bright light of morning. See more »

Quotes

Tracy Lord: [normal voice] Hello, Dexter.
[lower voice]
Tracy Lord: Hello, George.
[high childish voice]
Tracy Lord: Hello, Mike.
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Connections

Featured in The Big Parade of Comedy (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
In the score after the photographer takes the picture at the wedding
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Main Line society wedding
11 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

The excellent play by Phillip Barry, is the basis for the delightful transfer to the screen. The choice of George Cukor as its director seems to have been made in heaven. Indeed, Mr. Cukor clearly understood what was needed to make this film the classic it became. George Cukor's contribution, as well of the magnificent screenplay, by Donald Ogden Stewart, make this a timeless comedy that looks as fresh today as when it was originally released.

It helps tremendously that Katherine Hepburn had played Tracy Lord on the stage and knew what made her tick. Ms. Hepburn, an actress of enormous talent, is the embodiment of this society woman. Katherine Hepburn clearly understood her character. Having come herself from a privileged family, she was able to get deep inside her character. Tracy Lord is going to be married to George Kitteredge, a man from her own social circle. Deep down inside, Tracy can't get her mind from the man she really loves, the rascal Dexler.

The casting of Cary Grant as C.K. Dexler was a touch of genius. Mr. Grant had played opposite Ms. Hepburn before. He was an actor that always delivered and was always a welcome addition to any of the movies of the period. Mr. Grant, with his good looks, makes the perfect man to play the part. As Dexler, the man who broke Tracy's heart, he returns just before the wedding, perhaps to remind her he's still loves her and can't get her out of his mind.

James Stewart was the other happy casting of "The Philadelphia Story". He was relatively unknown to the movie going public, but he left his mark all over the picture. As McCauley (Mike) Conner, this actor was perfect. As the tabloid reporter infiltrating the society wedding he proved his impeccable sense of timing.

Ruth Hussey, contributes to the film in unexpected ways. Virginia Weidler, as Dinah, is irresistible. The rest of the ensemble cast is a director's dream. Mary Nash, John Howard, Roland Young, John Halliday, Henry Daniel and the rest, are perfect.

"The Philadelphia Story" will keep delighting audiences for many years to come.


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