Directed by George Cukor. Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan, Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton, Henry Kolker. Columbia.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Kids & Up*|
Content advisory: Romantic complications; semi-comic inebriation.
Buy at Amazon.com
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
Why is The Philadelphia Story so well known, while the equally unforgettable Holiday, from the same director, writers, and leads, suffers comparative neglect?
Both are romantic comedies — or comedic romances? — starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, directed by George Cukor, and written by Donald Ogden Stewart from Philip Barry stage plays. With their light comic touch, romantic complications, and class consciousness, both films superficially resemble screwball comedy, yet neither is quite screwball. The lack of bizarre situations and outlandish behavior, the nuanced, sympathetic characterizations, and the rich, resonant dialogue all set them apart from screwball classics like Bringing Up Baby or My Man Godfrey.
Where The Philadelphia Story is more satiric, Holiday is more compassionate and bittersweet. Its premise — working-class man falls in love with society heiress — may be familiar, but it eschews such plot mechanics as comic misunderstandings and elaborate deceptions; the story begins with Johnny Case (Grant) discovering the truth about the Seton family fortune, and it never looks back. Even when Johnny’s intended insists that he wear a borrowed tie to meet her father, and Daddy recognizes the tie, there’s no attempted cover-up — just a cheerful admission of the truth. (Even The Philadelphia Story had its "Uncle Willy" piffle.)
Dialogue and characterizations are note-perfect, and the story never missteps. This is one of the great ones.