7.9/10
62,789
226 user 79 critic

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 17 January 1941 (USA)
Trailer
3:32 | Trailer
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.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Donald Ogden Stewart (screen play), Philip Barry (based on the play by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,428 ( 606)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Cary Grant ... C. K. Dexter Haven
Katharine Hepburn ... Tracy Lord
James Stewart ... Macaulay Connor
Ruth Hussey ... Elizabeth Imbrie
John Howard ... George Kittredge
Roland Young ... Uncle Willie
John Halliday ... Seth Lord
Mary Nash ... Margaret Lord
Virginia Weidler ... Dinah Lord
Henry Daniell ... Sidney Kidd
Lionel Pape ... Edward
Rex Evans Rex Evans ... Thomas
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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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Katharine Hepburn starred in the Broadway production of the play on which this film was based and owned the film rights to the material; they were purchased for her by billionaire Howard Hughes, then given to her as a gift. See more »

Goofs

As Connor and Tracy exit the library, the boom mic is reflected on the windshield of Tracy's car. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth Imbrie: There's a cousin, Joanna, who's definitely crazy.
Macaulay Connor: Who told you that?
Elizabeth Imbrie: Dinah.
Macaulay Connor: Well, Dinah would know.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) 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

 
Plays your heart strings in a masterful glissando.
5 October 2003 | by budmasseySee all my reviews

That this brilliant story originated on stage is obvious. The stage requires personas of epic and electric beauty. Philadelphia Story boasts three of the brightest stars that ever burned to occupy these personas, which they do with miraculous luminance.

The play, of course, was written for Hepburn by Phillip Barry, and after over 400 performances on Broadway she cleverly bought the film rights right out from under the noses of Hollywood moguls who fancied themselves smarter than Dear Kate. This came at a time when Hepburn was tops on the list of stars who had been labeled box office poison by producers.

The dynamics between the stars are legendary. Finer actors never lived, and these are the performances of a lifetime for each of them. Stewart is funny, smoldering, passionate and moving and he has moments, many of them, of stunning brilliance in each of those emotions. Grant is his typical stilted and elegant self, funny, gracious, urbane and, yes, beautiful. And then there is Hepburn. She is breathtaking to look at, and she plays your heart strings in a masterful glissando plucking at every emotion as she moves effortlessly across her entire unmatched range.

The supporting cast is worthy of the surplus of talent that surrounds them, and offer a few unforgettable moments of their own. And the presence of George Cukor, the greatest director of women in history, and the best director of Hepburn as well, coaxes every brilliant word of the script to its full potential.

You must not miss this treasure simply because it is from another era. It depicts that era with insight and irreverence that expose it, and the rarified world of old Philadelphia Money (yes, with a capital "M") like few films of its time, or any time, could. Every time I watch this movie, and the frequency would embarrass me if I were honest about it, I love it more.

Watch it. Study it. Assimilate every second of it and your understanding and appreciation of cinema will be enriched for it. And you'll have a great time doing it!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

17 January 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Philadelphia Story See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$258,994, 18 February 2018

Gross USA:

$404,524

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$411,442
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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