If you can’t sleep or don’t want to sleep yet Saturday night, Turner Classic Movies is showing a movie that I believe set the foundation for romantic comedies to come.
“The Philadelphia Story” airs at 11:15 p.m. CDT. The 1940 film, directed by George Cukor and based on the hit Broadway play, stars Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and James Stewart.
It is the story of wealthy Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord as she prepares for the social event of the season, her second marriage.
Her first marriage to C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) did not end well. So much so that Dexter Haven helps a tabloid magazine that he used to work for get access to Lord as the second marriage draws nears. He knocks on the door of the Lord mansion inviting himself in with reporter Macaulay “Mike” Connor (James Stewart) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey).
Then buckle yourself in for a very interesting ride. “The Philadelphia Story” is not laugh out funny. The humor comes from the cynicism shown by the characters whether it involves their personal or professional lives. But in the end that cynicism turns into, shall we dare say it? It’s something that resembles happiness.
Stewart won an Oscar for best actor which surprised many who thought Henry Fonda was a sure winner for “Grapes of Wrath.” But it is widely believed that Stewart won because he got passed over for his tour de force “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” the previous year.
RATING — *** 1/2 stars
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .