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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Philadelphia Story (1940)



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The Philadelphia Story is a great screwball comedy, much more intelligent and insightful than most, and one of the best comedies ever made. It stars Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, each a legendary A-list star, and they work together beautifully. Of the three characters, the Great Kate's is the most interesting, and hers is what this story is all about. She doesn't know how to love, her father informs her in brutally plain terms. Overcoming that and her pride is essential for her to sort out the escalating situational confusion that arises -- the return of her ex-husband, the onslaught of reporters, and the threat of scandal, among other things. The dialogue is crisp and funny, never faltering or missing a beat. The hilarious opening scene, a wordless depiction of Hepburn and Grant splitting up, is among the most notorious moments of either's career. If you want a funny movie with wit, heart, and food for thought, look no further.

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