The Philadelphia Story (1940)

on December 26, 1940 by BOXOFFICE Staff
If ever a production was endowed with an over-abundance of what normally represents the epitome in entertainment it is "The Philadelphia Story," based on the play by Philip Barry, scenarized by Donald Ogden Stewart and directed by George Cukor. It is a superb blending of upper class domestic manifestations and its accompanying dementia crossed with the sort of plain talk and reasoning that would humanize a statue. It is also the best effort Katherine Hepburn has yet put forth. And the same might be said of James Stewart and Cary Grant, if it isn't too late. Because together they attain heights in the focal points of a love quadrangle full of originality, humor and substance. Farce seldom begets realism, but this film is the direct antithesis of studio portraiture. It's more like an exhibitor's dream.

Waste no time nor expense in swamping your city with the names of Hepburn, Grant and Stewart. In fact, the secondary names might represent a campaign in itself. Play up the very successful one year's run of the film in play form on Broadway, with Hepburn in the role she plays on stage. The candid-camera angle in the film opens a large field for stunts -- street, home, intimate or otherwise. Ditto the angle of the bridegroom being left at the altar. An idea that might click would be a special screening for society page editors. There's a swell opening for a "Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard" contest for the younger set, as evidenced in the corking performance of Virginia Weidler. Fashion, beverage and home furnishing tie-ins are innumerable.

Don't Lose Faith in Human Nature... See the Philadelphia Story. MGM 112 mins.

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