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The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Not Rated | | Comedy , Romance | 17 January 1941 (USA)
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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)
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3,128 ( 2,378)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: George Cukor
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday
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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 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:

Broadway's howling year-run comedy hit of the snooty society beauty who slipped and fell - IN LOVE! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

17 January 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht vor der Hochzeit See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Playwright Philip Barry based the character of Tracy on Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, a Main Line Philadelphia socialite famous for throwing lavish parties at her family's 800-acre estate in Radnor, PA. The studio reportedly intended to shoot the film at Ardrossan (the name of the family's estate), but decided against it after seeing the size and scale of the main house and the expansiveness of the estate. The producers reportedly thought that no one would believe that anyone could actually live like that, particularly in America in the 1940s. See more »

Goofs

When Tracy and Dexter are talking about the information that Kidd has on her father, Dexter hands her pictures and the story of her father and the dancer, Teena Mara. After Tracy shuffles through the paper multiple times, there doesn't seem to be anything written, typed or have pictures on this paper. See more »

Quotes

Tracy Lord: How do I look?
Seth Lord: Like a queen. Like a goddess.
Tracy Lord: And do you know how I feel?
Seth Lord: How?
Tracy Lord: Like a human. Like a human being.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Philadelphia Story (1994) 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Dictating her own comeback
12 November 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

After Katharine Hepburn was one of a group of stars dictated "box office poison" by the ruling moguls of Hollywood she went east and scored a complete triumph on stage with The Philadelphia Story. But our Kate was the shrewd one, she had the foresight to buy the film rights from author Philip Barry and peddle them to the studio that would guarantee her repeating her stage role and giving her creative control.

On stage she had co-starred with Joseph Cotten, Van Heflin, and Shirley Booth all of whom became movie names later on, but meant nothing to Hollywood in 1940. She had the choice of leading men and cast in their places, Cary Grant, James Stewart and Ruth Hussey.

This was Grant's fourth and final appearance on screen with Hepburn. It's a typical Cary Grant part, witty and urbane, with a touch of the rogue in him. He's Hepburn's ex-husband, still very much in love with his ex-wife, but she's marrying stuffed shirt John Howard.

Reporter James Stewart and photographer Ruth Hussey are covering Hepburn's wedding for Spy Magazine, the National Enquirer of the day. Through a little judicious blackmail they're invited to this premier society wedding, but both feel out of place and used.

After The Philadelphia Story, Katharine Hepburn was a movie name the rest of her long life. Even with an occasional clinker no one ever questioned her about being box office poison.

James Stewart won the Best Actor Oscar in probably the most romantic he was ever on the screen. A lot felt it was a consolation Oscar for not winning it for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939. Stewart himself proclaimed to all who'd listen that he voted for good friend Henry Fonda in the Academy Sweepstakes for The Grapes of Wrath. I've always felt that when Stewart talked about those hearth fires banked down low to Hepburn, he was really talking about himself. He's a cynical fellow at first and his romantic side comes as a surprise to him more than even the audience.

The Philadelphia Story has become such a classic that even the musical remake High Society doesn't try to copy it, it just presents a softer musical alternative. But I'd kind of liked to have seen Hepburn do this with her original cast as well. Oscars were in the future for Van Heflin and Shirley Booth and Joseph Cotten the following year made his debut in the biggest film of all.


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