The Philadelphia Story
Directed by George Cukor
Cornerhouse, 23 May 2010
A great movie, though one that wears its prejudices on its sleeve.
You know the story, or at any rate you should: Katharine Hepburn’s ice maiden must learn that without love and forgiveness she cannot be a real woman, little matter that forgiveness may not be warranted in a particular case or two. Sundry rationalisations (e.g. concerning infidelity) are presented as wisdom.
There is one neat line, which goes something like: ‘You should never make your mind up about people.’ But even the person who utters it doesn’t apply the rule impartially.
By a sizable measure, this is James Stewart’s movie. He plays Macaulay Connor, a short story writer-cum-journalist, who woos Hepburn and seeks out her ex-hubby (Cary Grant) for one of those classic man-to-man conversations. His lines are the most eloquent and he shines in every scene. Has any woman been more highly praised than Hepburn, as when Stewart talks about those inner fires banked deep inside her? All the other actors are pretty good, actually, it is just that Stewart is even better.
A movie that is amusing, intelligent (mostly), moving and (what’s that other word?) yare. Yes, very yare.