Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ten Reasons To LOVE The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Here are the ten reasons I completely ADORE The Philadelphia Story, one of my favourite films. I did a comparison post about this and High Society the 1956 musical remake starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm and Bing *shudder* Crosby which is nowhere near as good - but I didn't think I covered my thoughts rambles on it well enough. So here you go! More rambles than you could ever hope for. By the way, I'm assuming you know the plot but if not then take a look here. {If you still want to read this post, well done.}

Left to right: George Cukor, John Howard, Katharine Hepburn and cary Grant (Photo from Doctor Macro as are many others, thanks Dr. Macro!)

Reason 1.

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn

{Scanned by me}

One of my very favourite on-screen couples. I've actually seen all of their pairings together except the perpetually doomed and apparently awful Sylvia Scarlett (about which Fanny Bryce said to Katharine Hepburn, "What were you thinking when you made that movie?")! They are just too fantastic and put together... AWESOMESAUCE! No, seriously. One of the best pairings, even though they aren't together for the whole film :-)

Reason 2.


Just the name. That is actually the second best thing. It is the most completely stupendous name to ever grace the silver screen. How much cooler can you get? You could just scream it out for ages. Try it. It's soooo fun (no joke). What does the C. K. stand for? We shall never know...

Reason 3.

The Drunk Scene

Where Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart get drunk on champagne together. It's just so funny and then romantic and then quite random... IT'S EVERYTHING!!! GAH! But yes it really is cool. I love the bit where they go swimming and then he carries her back belting out "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and she says to her three suitors (Dexter, George and Mike), "Hello, Dexter. HULLO GEORGE. Hellooo Mike!" Favourite quote from the scene: Tracy Lord, "The Time to make up your mind about people is never."

Reason 4.

{Scanned by me}

Katharine Hepburn

This part was basically written for her by playwright Phillip Barry and she backed the production on broadway and then (after being gifted the film rights by Howard Hughes) made a package deal with MGM stating that they could have the rights as long as she played Tracy. After that it was basically her production. She supervised most things from lighting to costumes and some people credit her as executive producer. But she gave a lot more than just that. This performance is one of my all time favourites and you really feel she was Tracy Lord. She said herself "The role of Tracy Lord fit me like a glove." I love all the delivery and everything. Great performance.

Reason 5.

Virginia Wiedler a.k.a. Dinah Lord

Virginia Wiedler is one of my favourite child actresses and this is my favourite role of hers. Her rendition of "Lydia The Tattooed Lady" is so funny. My mum also told me that this song was also sung by The Muppets! I also really like the bit when she comes down and says she must talk urgently with Uncle Willy about the last night (see The Drunk Scene) and she arrives at his house in a little carriage drawn by a Shetland pony.

Reason 6.


Oh yes. It deserves the capital letters and the underlining. I love it. It's long and white and silky and sparkly and flowey and awesome. I love the way that the sleeves gather in as well. Hmm... But seriously. I love this dress.

Reason 7.

{Scanned by me, this photo has little to do with anything I've written about, but it's good, so why not? Tracy Lord and George Kittredge roll in the mud :-)}

The Script

Hmm. Maybe this should be a little higher in the list... Oh well. I love the script. Some favourite quotes are:

Tracy Lord: I'm going crazy. I'm standing here solidly on my own two hands and going crazy.

Macaulay Connor: Doggone it, C.K. Dexter Haven. Either I'm gonna sock you or you're gonna sock me. 
C. K. Dexter Haven: Shall we toss a coin?

C. K. Dexter Haven: Orange juice, certainly.
Tracy Lord: Don't tell me you've forsaken your beloved whisky and whiskies.
C. K. Dexter Haven: No-no-no-no. I've just changed their colour, that's all. I'm going for the pale pastel shades now. They're more becoming of me. How about you, Mr. Connor? You drink, don't you - alcohol, I mean?
Macaulay Connor: Oh, a little.
C. K. Dexter Haven: [Amused] A little? And you a writer? Tsk, tsk, tsk. I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know, at one time I think I secretly wanted to be a writer.
[He and Tracy exchange scornful looks

Macaulay Connor: [speaking of Tracy, wearing a trilby hat] What are her leading characteristics?
C. K. Dexter Haven: She has a horror of men who wear their hats in the house.
Elizabeth (Liz) Imbrie: Leading characteristics to be filled in later. 

Sidney Kidd: You hate me, I trust, Miss Imbrie. 
Elizabeth (Liz) Imbrie: No, I-I can't afford to hate anybody. I'm only a photographer.

Reason 8.

The "Talking Room" Scene

This is where a drunk James Stewart and Cary Grant discuss their plans for writing an article putting "Spy" magazine editor, Sydney Kidd, to shame. It's so funny. Apparently is was partly improvised and I just adore it. James Stewart and Cary Grant together in one room for a whole 10 minutes alone with a typewriter... WHAT AWESOME MADNESS HAPPENED IN THIS SCENE! Love.

Reason 9.

{Scanned by me}

The Wedding

The wedding scene is beyond all imagination of fantasticness. It starts being amazing as soon as *SPOILER* Dexter proposes by telling Tracy to say it while she is talking to the wedding guests and it just gets better and better. Ending with a great shot of the Tracy, Dexter, Liz, Mike and the vicar completely shocked!

Reason 10.

The Whole Cast

They all mesh so well together as a team and a cast. I love all their scenes as a group and in pairs or other  combos. One of the best casts.

Hope you liked the post!



Merrie said...

I literally could not agree with this anymore!!!!!!! I am so glad someone out there shares the SAME love for this movie!!! Just AMAZING!!!

cranberries said...

Brilliant post!

Kate Gorman said...

I agree with everything you said about this film! It's brilliant! xx

Laura said...

Yes, I LOVE this movie!

Camilla said...

The Philadelphia Story is the greatest movie ever! I just saw High Society on TCM, and I was HORRIFIED!!! I had no idea someone tried to ruin this perfect movie, but I was looking for someone who thought so, too. Thank you for a great post and great pics from my absolutely favorite film!! And God bless you, Katharine Hepburn, wherever you are.

Bea said...

Great post, Bette, I really enjoyed this. I absolutely adore this film, one of my top ten. Perfect movie!

Bea said...

I saw Katherine Hepburn's dress at an exhibition called Hollywood Costumes at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. So cool!

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