THE PHILADELPHIA STORY 1940
This classic romantic comedy focuses on Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), a Philadelphia socialite who has split from her husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), due both to his drinking and to her overly demanding nature. As Tracy prepares to wed the wealthy George Kittredge (John Howard), she crosses paths with both Dexter and prying reporter Macaulay Connor (James Stewart). Unclear about her feelings for all three men, Tracy must decide whom she truly loves.
The Katharine Hepburn-Cary Grant pairing in The Philadelphia Story pits these two forces against one another. Those scenes highlight their effortless charisma and singular uniqueness. One could see the film as the story of a free-spirited woman deliberately placing herself within a cage, stuck with a boorish, moody one-time drunk (albeit one blessed with cleverness and good looks). But that doesn’t seem fair to Hepburn’s headstrong Tracy Lord or Grant’s wonderfully named C.K. Dexter Haven. It doesn’t take into account that these two are a match, and the way they challenge one another is what keeps them spicy and alive.
The Philadelphia Story, originally a hit Broadway play, was the studio picture designed to resuscitate Hepburn’s career after she had been labeled “box office poison.” It’s a pity, considering how her three preceding films (Holiday, Bringing Up Baby, and Stage Door) were all impressive in one way or another: her Linda Seton in Holiday was a one-of-a-kind eccentric beauty who moved through a stifling cosmopolitan milieu with her own sharp, individualistic will. She possessed an absolutely stunning beauty, commanded on her own terms. I identified with the Cary Grant character, an idealistic young man who fell in love with her because of her mind and body, and because there was no one else like her anywhere in the movies.
Parking is available in the Senate parking lot on Gilbert, as well as on Michigan Avenue and Gilbert Streets.