The Philadelphia Story [1940]

Directed by: George Cukor
Written by: Donald Ogden Stewart, Waldo Salt (uncredited); based on “The Philadelphia Story” by Philip Barry.
Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey

“You’re lit from within, Tracy. You’ve got fires banked down in you, hearth-fires and holocausts.” – Macaulay Connor (Stewart) in The Philadelphia Story

1940 comedy of remarriage marked Katharine’s Hepburn comeback after being dubbed “box office poison”. Based on Philip Barry’s Broadway play of the same name, The Philadelphia Story’s theater origins are evident. The setting is austere, and the splendid writing and acting take central stage. The fact that this “Story” is pretty funny is due, in large part, to the amazing trifecta of Grant-Hepburn-Stewart, each giving an impeccable performance, but also to the script by Donald Ogden Stewart. Jimmy Stewart, in particular, is pitch-perfect and he never was more fun. Ruth Hussey and Virginia Weidler (a hoot as “Dinah”) round out the top-notch cast. It loses a bit of steam towards the end, but watching these legends “battle” on screen is pure cinematic glory.