Monday, September 27, 2010

The Philadelphia Story. A-

Casting numerous big names in a single movie has never been common, though it's definitely not as much a rarity today as it was in cinema's golden age. In the old days, two major stars was considered normal, but getting three A-list stars in leading roles was a scarcity. And that's why the poser for The Philadelphia Story offers such a surprise, because it includes Katherine Hepburn, and both James Stewart and Cary Grant. One movie with what AFI calls the greatest female star of all time and the second and third greatest male stars ever. Now admittedly, Hepburn was box office poison at the time, but having Grant and Stewart together warrants immediate interest-no matter the film itself. And it turns out that the movie is a romantic comedy, which is probably the best genre choice for these three legends to be together in. A drama would boggle them down some (not to mention decrease their endearing charm), but with a comedy they're given significant range to showcase their finest skills. I was under the impression that their was a deeper meaning or underlying symbolism or political/social statement in the movie, but it's really just a common romantic comedy as advertised. The movie is memorable for the acting, but what ultimately drives it is the script from a play by Philip Barry. The story itself is a amusing, but what makes the film a classic is the one-on-ones between Hepburn and Grant, Grant and Stewart, and Stewart and Hepburn. There's a lot of them and you can tell that these greats are loving it every second.

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