Sunday, January 30, 2011

Top 5 Romantic Comedies - #1

Number one on my list of best romantic comedies is my favorite movie of all genres.  I make a point to watch it every year around the holidays. 

The Philadelphia Story (1940) stars Katherine Hepburn (Tracy Lord), Cary Grant (C.K. Dexter Haven), and Jimmy Stewart (Macaulay Conner).  The movie explores the difference in social classes, and it explores Tracy's struggle with accepting human imperfection.  It is my favorite movie because of the sophisticated, witty dialogue (excerpt below). 

The movie opens with a silent scene where Dexter puts his hand on Tracy's face and shoves her down, telling you a little about the characters and that you-the audience-are in for a real treat.  This is at the time Dexter and Tracy get divorced. 

Two years later, Tracy (from a higher social class) is about to remarry a self-made man named Kittredge (John Howard).  Dexter (also from the higher class) decides to put a kink in those plans.  His kink involves two SPY magazine reporters, Macauley and Miss Imbrie (Ruth Hussey).

Dexter (Grant):  You don't look as well as well as when I last saw you, Kittredge.  Oh, you poor fellow.  I know just how you feel...  (He looks at Tracy)  Why, you don't look old enough to get married.  Not even the first time.  And then you never did.  She needs trouble to mature her, Kittredge.  Give her lots of it.

Kittredge:  I'm afraid she can't count on me for that. 

Dexter:  No, that's too bad.  Sometimes, for your own sake, Red, I think you should have stuck to me longer.

Tracy:  I thought it was for life, but the nice judge gave me a full pardon.

Dexter:  Aw, that's the old redhead, no bitterness, no recrimination, just a good swift left in the jaw.

The Philadelphia Story received six Oscar nominations.  Jimmy Stewart won for Best Supporting Actor, and Donald Ogden Stewart won for Best Screenplay.  The film revived Hepburn's career and broke a box office record at Radio City Music Hall.

Here's the opending scene (you can't help but laugh):