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The Philadelphia Story Details


We open on Philadelphia socialite C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) as he's being tossed out of his palatial home by his wife, Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn). Adding insult to injury, Tracy breaks one of C.K.'s precious golf clubs. He gallantly responds by knocking her down on her million-dollar keester. A couple of years after the breakup, Tracy is about to marry George Kittridge (John Howard), a wealthy stuffed shirt whose principal recommendation is that he's not a Philadelphia "mainliner," as C.K. was. Still holding a torch for Tracy, C.K. is galvanized into action when he learns that Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell), the publisher of Spy Magazine, plans to publish an exposé concerning Tracy's philandering father (John Halliday). To keep Kidd from spilling the beans, C.K. agrees to smuggle Spy reporter Macauley Connor (James Stewart) and photographer Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) into the exclusive Lord-Kittridge wedding ceremony. How could C.K. have foreseen that Connor would fall in love with Tracy, thereby nearly lousing up the nuptials? As it turns out, of course, it is C.K. himself who pulls the "louse-up," reclaiming Tracy as his bride. A consistently bright, bubbly, witty delight, The Philadelphia Story could just as well have been titled "The Revenge of Katharine Hepburn." Having been written off as "box-office poison" in 1938, Hepburn returned to Broadway in a vehicle tailor-made for her talents by playwright Philip Barry. That property, of course, was The Philadelphia Story; and when MGM bought the rights to this sure-fire box-office success, it had to take Hepburn along with the package -- and also her veto as to who her producer, director, and co-stars would be. Her strategy paid off: after the film's release, Hepburn was back on top of the Hollywood heap. While she didn't win the Oscar that many thought she richly deserved, the little gold statuette was bestowed upon her co-star Stewart, perhaps as compensation for his non-win for 1939's Stewart. Donald Ogden Stewart (no relation to Jimmy) also copped an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Philadelphia Story was remade in 1956 with a Cole Porter musical score as Cole Porter. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:June 2, 1941


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Cukor Best Director 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences James Stewart Best Actor 1940 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Katharine Hepburn Best Actress 1940 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Katharine Hepburn Best Actress 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ruth Hussey Best Supporting Actress 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Donald Ogden Stewart Best Screenplay 1940 Winner


Cary Grant
as C.K. Dexter Haven
Katharine Hepburn
as Tracy Lord
James Stewart
as Macauley Connor
Ruth Hussey
as Liz Imbrie
John Howard
as George Kittredge
Roland Young
as Uncle Willie
John Halliday
as Seth Lord
Mary Nash
as Margaret Lord
Virginia Weidler
as Dinah Lord
Henry Daniell
as Sidney Kidd
Lionel Pape
as Edward
Rex Evans
as Thomas
Hillary Brooke
as Mainliner
Claude King
as Willie's Butler
Veda Buckland
as Elsie
Florine McKinney
as Main Line Society Woman
Hilda Plowright
as Librarian
David Clyde
as Mac the night watchman
Helene Whitney
as Main Line Society Woman
Lee Phelps
as Bartender


George Cukor
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Waldo Salt
Donald Ogden Stewart
Joseph Ruttenberg
Franz Waxman
Composer (Music Score)
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer
Costume Designer
Douglas Shearer
Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Dawn