Ep 6: The Philadelphia Story

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 4 Pops ~ Okay, here’s the thing; in many ways, this movie is indefensible. But I love it anyway, because it’s fun, it’s funny, and if you can just not allow the bad stuff to tweak you, it’s a really good ride. One of my all-time favorites, and it remains one of my all-time favorites, I don’t care how flawed it is. So there. 😉 Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure 5, Comedy: 4, Romance: 3

Jenny says: 3 pops ~ This movie just does not work for me. I know, I know, millions love it including Lucy. That’s why the podcast ran ten minutes over. We can’t figure it out, either. Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 4, Romance: 2

Blog Poll Rating:

Movie Info:

Story: A goddess-like socialite has a fiance, an ex-husband, and a newpaper reporter panting after her, but until she recognizes her own humanity, she is not worthy of love. Release Date: Dec. 26, 1940 Director: George Cukor Writers:  Donald Ogden Stewart from a play by Philip Barry. More info at IMDb.

25 responses to “Ep 6: The Philadelphia Story”

  1. We (hubby & me) want to give it 3.5 pops. It wasn’t bad. The rambling at times got annoying. Loved Dex & Conner together. Agree that Liz & Dinah were great and the Dad was a prick.

    Thanks for doing this. I wouldn’t havewatched any of these movies if not for popd.

  2. I gave it four pops.
    I enjoyed the movie (had seen it a couple of times before) and agree with you guys, the structure was good. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny for me, but there were a few funny moments. The dialogue was good. I did like all of the characters even Tracy when she was cold and high and mighty. But there was a hell of a lot of drinking in this movie.
    The romance was so-so. The best part and the most genuine show of romance was between Mike and Tracy when they were drunk on champagne. But I guess in that scene it allowed her to open up and respond as a woman, it gave her a way to find her way down from her high horse.
    Dex just sat back and played everyone, and allowed her to fall right back into his arms again. He did protect her, look out for her, and for her family and that redeemed him. So I guess that showed his love. There seemed to be no romance at all between them and even when he stepped up to marry her you never saw any display of affection, except in the eyes.
    So, I think she evolved as a character and became more likeable by the end. But did she get her HEA? I suppose so, if Dex doesn’t start hitting the bottle again. : )
    So I said structure five, comedy three, romance two.

  3. That Chinese food sounds delicious.

    I had always meant to see this movie because I’m a bit of a film nut and this is, you know, one of The Classics. I was happy this blog finally made me get off my ass and watch it.

    My thoughts on the movie:

    Connor was a schmuck. Especially at the end when he was proposing. Although, I found myself wondering if HE knew he and Liz were having a relationship. They never kiss or hug or do anything couples do, so I did kind of wonder if it was one of those things where everyone else could see she was nuts for him and he was just blind to it, which I can well believe with his character.

    Cary Grant was just…magnificent. As usual.

    I felt like the writing was totally overwrought in some moments. I was surprised how heavy it got at certain points.

    On the whole, I think Holiday was actually a much better Grant/Hepburn pairing.

    RE: The podcast

    I would say there was a moment when she looks at Connor and says, “No.” It’s the morning after when she sobers up and he tries to kiss her again and she runs from him. And I don’t think that’s just remorse, I think she’s looking at him, in a “What was I thinking?” sort of way. They have lust, maybe, but I didn’t feel like there was an emotional connection there.

    And I would say the moment she turns to Dext and loves him is when he says he’s going to sell the True Love and she says basically she’ll kill him if he does. And the moment in the car, where Dext’s love for her just shines out of his face. So sweet.

    Oh, and I have to ask but was someone filing her nails during the podcast or something? Or maybe cutting up a magazine…? I kept hearing this rhythmic scratching in the background during the podcast and I wondered what it was…

    I actually liked this a lot. I think, though, it was because I knew who she ended up with in the end, so I spent the whole movie watching for clues about that romance and finding why he was the better candidate. And I did find a lot of moments where it was so clear how much he loves her and how good they are together.

    I’m not sure, though, if I’d just come to this fresh, without that knowledge, if I would have been at all happy with the ending.

    Oh, and I was REALLY pissed when her father didn’t get a hard sock to the jaw. That man needed a good pounding.

  4. Verona

    re the nail-filing in the podcast — there was some mention at the beginning about “technical difficulties” in the audio quality. Which I personally think was code for “we didn’t want to stop poor Lyle from chewing the cardboard.” 🙂

  5. I first saw this movie when I was knee-high to a dachshund. When they got to the part about the dad lecturing Tracy on her not appreciating him, I thought “Okay, this must be something that makes sense to adults, ’cause it sure ain’t ringing any bells in my belfry.” [Or words to that effect.]

    Now I just think it was an assinine [sic] speech.

  6. @ Merry,
    No, it didn’t sound like a sound glitch or a small dachshund chewing on cardboard. It really sounded like scissors to me…was I the only one who noticed it?

  7. No scissors or nail filing. Lyle was chasing around a heavy cardboard box for awhile.
    Or maybe it was my breathing. Heh heh heh.

  8. This is one of those movies where I think she went off with the wrong bloke. She should’ve gone off with Jimmy Stewart. He was much sexier than Cary Grant.

  9. Funnily enough, this movie was on cable a couple of months ago and I recorded it on my DVR but hadn’t watched it yet.

    I have to say that I had to watch it twice because the first time through, I couldn’t figure out who the hero was. The second time through I was watching to see if it was evident. Problem was, even the second time through I could see that it could’ve been either Dex or Connor, and personally I preferred Connor over Dexter – that is once he quit being a pain in the backside.

    There were some really fun parts of the movie for me and I enjoyed it a lot. But, considering that it was hard to tell who the hero was (even after I knew for certain), I’d have to rate it low on romance. But I enjoyed it in every other way. 🙂

  10. Okay, here I am, latish, because when I got back from seeing The Tempest yesterday, I was much too tired to log on and comment. BUT, oddly enough, there was a line in the play where the crew of the King of Naples’s ship returns to the island, announcing that the ship, apparently wrecked in the storm, is now “tight and yar and bravely rigg’d” Of course I could only think of the True Love. I swear these are the only 2 instances I’ve seen or heard that word.

    Another oddly enough: as I watched my VHS copy of Philadelphia Story on Friday night, when it came to an end, I switched to TV, and found Cary and Katherine still at it, in the last few minutes of Bringing Up Baby on my PBS station (unlike Louis’s, which ran TPS). Fortunately, it will repeat later this week, so the VCR is set to go.

  11. Oh, about the movie.
    Love the dialogue, and the snappiness of it all. Especially love Dinah and Miss Imbrie.

    Dexter: Can you use a typewriter?
    Miss I: No thanks. I have one at home.

    Dinah: I can tell there’s something in the air because I’m being taken away.

    Yes, I thought Mike and Tracy had more chemistry than any other couple. But did you see the delight on Tracy’s face at the end when she realised Dexter still loved her. And wanted her.

    And yeah, the business about Dad essentially saying, I had an affair with a younger woman because my daughter wasn’t the woman she should have been to me, you really got to wonder about his ideas of father/daughter relationships. Ewwww!

    And what did she see in George?

    But still, ignoring all the “what a woman should be” bits, I love this movie.

  12. WARNING: Ramble Ahead.
    I actually think Tracy is a fascinating character–she is a cipher for the men. They all impose ideas about “goddess woman” on her and then tear her down because she fulfills those ideas. I think she is flawed but not mean. She is consistently kind and open to the women in the movie: her ditzy mom, Diana, even Liz (she rakes Connor over the coals in the initial meeting but is always nice to Liz). She puts on a tough front for men and hides her vulnerability very well, which seems to goad the men into simultaneously admiring her and rejecting her as unnatural.

    In fact, she’s a smart control freak who is limited because of her position of privilege. Her mom’s a sap, her dad’s an ass, and she’s never had to work for anything. She doesn’t know how to work at anything (this is Dex’s complaint against her). Her engagement is her attempt to “do something good (useful) in the world” by moving out of her position of removed privilege and into the world with a man who has been there. She admires her fiance because he has accomplished so much on his own–bootstraps, etc. Little does she suspect that he wants to keep her exactly where she has been–on a pedestal, removed from the “real” world, which she craves. She understands that she is stunted and thinks that her marriage will help her grow.

    Because of the time period, we are supposed to agree with the “Stand by Your Man” philosophy. We are supposed to agree with the father that she should be less strident; we are supposed to agree that she was wrong to leave Dex (because we know what a great guy he is). We are NOT supposed to think that Dad is a pig and that living with an alcoholic (even if he is Cary Grant) is like signing up for a trip to hell. So Tracy’s strength and her spine are what all the men reject in her and at the same time admire.

    The Stand by Your Man idea is also what binds Liz to Connor, and what made her palatable to the 40’s audience. She could be smart and sassy, but in the end, she was a good girl. She seemed certain that the day after the wedding would bring Connor back to her, so perhaps (though it’s not shown) there’s much more foundation in that relationship than we’d otherwise believe.

    Dex is equally complex, and lord, what a great hero. After she left him and he got sober, he was able to SEE her, not an image of her. And he loves her, despite all her flaws. I think it’s possible that he’s happy to let Connor woo her if only to end the relationship with the fiance (forgot his name).

    The scene the next morning where Tracy is apologizing to Dex– she feels that she’s cheated on Dex and it going to confess. She has completely forgotten about the fiance and her feelings of guilt are not related to him at all.

    I agree with all the flaws and I think it’s a hard movie to see with modern feminist eyes. But I also think there are things to admire–the most important being that it doesn’t assume a stupid audience, which is always refreshing, given current films. It is interesting to consider how layered the characters are and how much THERE is there in 2 hours. I can’t think of a modern movie that has left me considering the many dimensions of the characters, mostly because so many film characters are so one dimensional.

  13. Terrific analysis, Sarah.

    I’m of two minds about taking the time period into consideration. On the one hand, of course you have to, any story is to some extent a product of its time, and you can’t expect it to reflect the values of a society seventy years later. But on the other hand, we’re analyzing these to see why they’re the classics, why they’ve remained not just fun to watch but still satisfying seventy years later. I think that It Happened One Night and His Girl Friday have aged beautifully. I think Bringing Up Baby is still funny as hell seventy years later, but probably never was a romantic comedy. And I think Ninotchka and The Philadelphia Story are not as universal, although I have to admit, I find Ninotchka a lot more interesting than Tracy.

    Maybe it’s the simplicity of Tracy’s arc. She’s repressed and lost, but one night drunk on champagne with a reporter and she’s a new woman, ready to go back to the husband she keeps saying she loathes. It just wasn’t there for me. But it was for you and Lucy, so maybe it’s just me.

  14. I wonder if it’s the actress rather than the plot? Remember that Grace Kelly has also done this story with Dex/Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra then went off and married Prince Rainier.
    With Hepburn it’s the dialogue. With Kelly it’s the songs.

  15. I forgot to say that the movie is High Society. I loved it but it is different and fascinating because it’s the same plot.

  16. I absolutely adore this film. Gave it 5 pops just because it is one of my all time favourites

    The scene between Dexter and Connor when Connor turns up at his house drunk is fantastic

    Connor “C.K. Dexter Haven! Oh, C.K. Dexter Haven! ”
    Dexter “What’s up? ”
    Connor “You are”
    Dexter “I only hope it’s worth it. Come in”
    Connor “I bring you greetings and Cinderella’s slipper, champagne. Champagne is a great leveleler… leveleler. It makes you my equal”
    Dexter “Not quite”
    Connor “Well, almost my equal”

    Then the bit where Connor has the hiccups. Hilarious!

    I need to go and watch this again tonight….

  17. I was trying to remember High Society, and I can’t remember if I liked it. Bing Crosby was no Cary Grant. I remember him singing “True Love” to Grace Kelly, though. As I remember the best scene in that movie was between Dexter and Connor, too. Crosby and Sinatra singing “Well, Did You Ever?” which I remember as “What A Swell Party This Is.” But about the romance I remember nothing, except the gossip that Crosby offered to leave his wife for Kelly and she picked the prince instead.

  18. Some great songs in High Society, though I haven’t seen it in years (but I think I may have picked up the VHS recently at a garage sale; everyone’s dumping them). I seem to recall Grace Kelly essentially doing a Katherine Hepburn impersonation. Poorly.

    But the song True Love, well, it’s pretty nice. Easily found on You Tube.

    Ahhh, I think I’ll go hunt up that movie and watch it tonight.

  19. Forgive me, my keyboard is borked. Here is my take: SaraB nailed most of my comments. The alchohol DID strike a little too uncomfortably close to home here, but I still give it many pops for this. ” I hoped you’d think better of me than that.”
    Dext knew she hadn’t done anything wrong when he saw Conner carrying Tracy. We didn’t see him arc — that was prior to te story (after the prologue). But he DID see her as human, all the way through.
    Sure, I didn’t buy the dad’s blaming the affair on Tracy. But, I have to watch it again. I’m not really sure that there was an affair. Was it definate, or merely inuendo from “Spy” magazine. Did Tracy jump the gun in judgement? I’m left wondering about tat’.
    I think the movie shows that you ultimately have to trust your partner and see them as human as well And that works just fine for me.
    That is why Mac Conner does not do it for me. He’d be te same pressure that Kittrdge places on her, even though Conner has more honerable intentions. Dext is focusing on true love.
    Structure: 5
    Commedy: 4
    Romance 4
    Four Plus: It’s not quite perfect, but watch it anyway. It’s really good.

  20. anyway, I didn’t expound on the trust. But Dext had it. He knew her. He knew she was good. He knew he could trust her, even though they weren’t together. He knew she was flawed, but good, and worth it.

    And, I forgot to say how much I loved, Loved, LOVED Dina.

  21. I love the missing H’s.
    I think Dad did have the affair since he blamed it on her being a lousy daughter. And evidently it was fairly public because her mother talked about the humiliation.
    And yes, Dexter was terrific. He’d have been even more terrific if he’d been ON THE SCREEN. I get grumpy when I’m deprived of Cary Grant.

  22. I got to wondering if the “stripper” Traci Lord took her name from this movie. Only thought of of it because she was in a B-minus movie on cable the other week.

    It’s still a good movie to watch again.

  23. Also, a casual Google search turned up the fact that “High Society” is the name of a pr0n magazine. Coincidence? I wonder…