Movie Review: The Philadelphia Story

Producer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Director: George Cukor
Writers: David Ogden Stewart, Waldo Salt
Cast: Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Virginia Wiedler, Roland Young, Mary Nash, and John Halliday.

Plot: A Philadelphia socialite, Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) wedding plans are complicated by the arrival of her ex-husband , C.K. Dexter Haven(Cary Grant) and a tabloid photographer (Ruth Hussey) and reporter (James Stewart) who have crashed the wedding to get exclusive pictures and stories of the event. To make matters worse the socialite’s father (John Halliday) has been involved with a showgirl and the editor of the tabloid threatens to expose the father’s philandering unless they can take pictures of the nuptials.

Complicating matters the presence of C.K. Dexter Haven is causing Tracy to have second thoughts about her upcoming marriage. Mostly because her fiance, George (John Howard), is treating her like a goddess on a pillar, when she wants to be treated like a real woman. The night of the engagement party Tracy drinks too much, for the second time in her life, and ends up with the reporter, Mike (James Stewart) and takes a dip in the pool with him. The cold water and liqueur knocks her out and Mike being a gentleman carries her to her room only to meet George and C.K. Dexter Haven.

George is outraged and to forestall any unpleasantness Dexter punches Mike and knocks him out. The next day with aching heads by many George delivers an ultimatum.
This is in my humble opinion one of the best comedies of the era. Both Grant and Hepburn are sublime in their roles as former spouses who still have love for each other. James Stewart is the perfect sounding board for both of them. Now this was remade into a musical comedy called High Society with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Celeste Holms. But while I like High Society, especially seeing Louis Armstrong sing and play in the movie, I think the Philadelphia Story is the better movie.

I give this movie five stars don’t wait go out and rent it or buy for an excellent movie night.


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