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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

Complete credited cast:
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Lionel Pape ...
Rex Evans ...
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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 »

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht vor der Hochzeit  »

Company Credits

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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

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

In the closing scene, a photographer takes a picture of Dexter and Tracy at their wedding. The camera makes a loud click and they react by looking at the photographer. Moments later, a photograph is shown; however, it shows them looking directly at the camera. Since the picture was taken first, Dexter and Tracy should be looking away from the camera. See more »

Quotes

Macaulay Connor: Tracy.
Tracy Lord: What do you want?
Macaulay Connor: You're wonderful. There's a magnificence in you, Tracy.
Tracy Lord: Now I'm getting self-conscious. It's funny. I - Mike? Let's...
Macaulay Connor: Yeah?
Tracy Lord: I don't know - go up, I guess, it's late.
Macaulay Connor: A magnificence that comes out of your eyes, in your voice, in the way you stand there, in the way you walk. You're lit from within, Tracy. You've got fires banked down in you, hearth-fires and holocausts.
Tracy Lord: I don't seem to you made of bronze?
Macaulay Connor: No, you're made out of flesh and blood. That's the blank, unholy ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.7 (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Over the Rainbow
(1939) (uncredited)
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen
Sung a cappella by James Stewart
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User Reviews

 
Dictating her own comeback
12 November 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

After Katharine Hepburn was one of a group of stars dictated "box office poison" by the ruling moguls of Hollywood she went east and scored a complete triumph on stage with The Philadelphia Story. But our Kate was the shrewd one, she had the foresight to buy the film rights from author Philip Barry and peddle them to the studio that would guarantee her repeating her stage role and giving her creative control.

On stage she had co-starred with Joseph Cotten, Van Heflin, and Shirley Booth all of whom became movie names later on, but meant nothing to Hollywood in 1940. She had the choice of leading men and cast in their places, Cary Grant, James Stewart and Ruth Hussey.

This was Grant's fourth and final appearance on screen with Hepburn. It's a typical Cary Grant part, witty and urbane, with a touch of the rogue in him. He's Hepburn's ex-husband, still very much in love with his ex-wife, but she's marrying stuffed shirt John Howard.

Reporter James Stewart and photographer Ruth Hussey are covering Hepburn's wedding for Spy Magazine, the National Enquirer of the day. Through a little judicious blackmail they're invited to this premier society wedding, but both feel out of place and used.

After The Philadelphia Story, Katharine Hepburn was a movie name the rest of her long life. Even with an occasional clinker no one ever questioned her about being box office poison.

James Stewart won the Best Actor Oscar in probably the most romantic he was ever on the screen. A lot felt it was a consolation Oscar for not winning it for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939. Stewart himself proclaimed to all who'd listen that he voted for good friend Henry Fonda in the Academy Sweepstakes for The Grapes of Wrath. I've always felt that when Stewart talked about those hearth fires banked down low to Hepburn, he was really talking about himself. He's a cynical fellow at first and his romantic side comes as a surprise to him more than even the audience.

The Philadelphia Story has become such a classic that even the musical remake High Society doesn't try to copy it, it just presents a softer musical alternative. But I'd kind of liked to have seen Hepburn do this with her original cast as well. Oscars were in the future for Van Heflin and Shirley Booth and Joseph Cotten the following year made his debut in the biggest film of all.


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