Directed by George Cukor and starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart and Ruth Hussey, The Philadelphia Story is the dazzling tale of a society wedding threatened by scandal and one of the greatest of Hollywood romantic comedies.
Based on a stage play by Philip Barry, the leading role was specially written for Hepburn who starred in the Broadway show before the MGM screen production. Having previously been declared ‘box office poison’ on account of her bossy, unfeminine image, Hepburn scored a huge success in this role which set her back on course to become one of the most popular female stars in Hollywood history.
Hepburn plays Tracy Lord, a breezy socialite whose imminent wedding to a borish millionaire brings her brazen ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) back into her life. He arrives at the family mansion accompanied by journalists Macauley Connor (James Stewart) and Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Imbrie (Ruth Hussey), who pose as friends of Tracy’s brother in an attempt to nab a scoop on the private lives of the Lords. Mischievous yet insightful, The Philadelphia Story’s witty banter delivers cutting truths about romance, marriage and forgiveness while allowing its brilliant cast to tease comedy out of class conflict and shattered illusions, and drama out of an innocent, drunken midnight swim.
The Philadelphia Story received six Academy Award nominations, and won two Oscars: Best Actor for James Stewart and Best Screenplay for Donald Ogden Stewart. It was remade as the film musical High Society in 1956, with songs by Cole Porter and Bing Crosby, and Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra in the leading roles.
The Philadelphia Story, opening on 13 February 2015 at BFI Southbank, IFI Dublin, Cornerhouse Manchester and selected cinemas UK-wide.
Follow us on Twitter @asffest for the latest news in film in the UK and internationally.