Sunday, October 30, 2005


Philadelphia Story

George Cukor, 1940

TCM Comcast on Demand, Oct. 29


For someone whose all time favorite movie as a child and teen was "Bringing Up Baby" I'm shamefully behind on the screwball comedies. I should've seen this ages ago. Thanks to the glories of the on demand system, this was in impromptu screening.

First and foremost, this is a comedy, of course, and it's often very funny. But the screenplay is so good, and the cast is so talented, that it can't help but work on several different levels. The conflicts, fears, inhibitions, and motivations of the characters, in addition to setting up some marvelous comic moments, invoke real moments of sympathy and empathy from the viewers. While all the performances here work well, I have to single out the great Jimmy Stewart in particular for some praise. His portrayal of an over-intellectual, underfed, bitter, clueless writer is wonderfully spot-on. Of course, like most people, I'd enjoy watching Hepburn act in just about any situation, and this is no exception. I didn't think that Grant and Hepburn had the love/hate chemistry thing going quite as well as Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday, and the pacing wasn't quite as strong here as it was there, but this also had a bit more substance to it. Golly good.

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