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Sat, May 18 at 12:30pm | Sun, May 19 at 3:05pm, 8:00pm


  • Dir. George Cukor
  • USA
  • 1940
  • 112 min.
  • NR
  • DCP
  • Assistive Listening
  • Hearing Loop

Part of Weekend Classics and playing with NETWORK

With this furiously witty comedy of manners, Katharine Hepburn revitalized her career and cemented her status as the era’s most iconic leading lady — thanks in great part to her own shrewd orchestrations. While starring in the Philip Barry stage play The Philadelphia Story, Hepburn acquired the screen rights, handpicking her friend George Cukor to direct. The intoxicating screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart pits the formidable Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn, at her most luminous) against various romantic foils, chief among them her charismatic ex-husband (Cary Grant), who disrupts her imminent marriage by paying her family estate a visit, accompanied by a tabloid reporter on assignment to cover the wedding of the year (James Stewart, in his only Academy Award–winning performance). A fast-talking screwball comedy as well as a tale of regret and reconciliation, this convergence of golden-age talent is one of the greatest American films of all time. (Synopsis courtesy of the Criterion Collection)

“THE PHILADELPHIA STORY unquestionably will woo the Hepburn fans back into the moviehouses. It is a blue-ribbon, A-l film, the first smash comedy success of 1941.” —Ruth Lewis, Austin American-Statesman (Jan 26, 1941)

“Cinema entertainment of the blue ribbon, gold medal, knockout-in-one-round class.” —Boston Globe (Feb 21, 1941)

“Someone was rudely charging a few years ago that Miss Hepburn was ‘box-office poison.’ If she is, a lot of people don't read labels — including us. But she isn't the only one who gives a brilliant performance in this film. James Stewart, as the acid word-slinger, matches her poke for gibe all the way and incidentally contributes one of the most cozy drunk scenes with Miss Hepburn we've ever seen. Gary Grant, too, is warmly congenial as the castoff but undefeated mate…. Metro [MGM] and director George Cukor have graciously made it apparent, in the words of a character, that one of ‘the prettiest sights in this pretty world is the privileged classes enjoying their privileges.’ And so, in this instance, will you, too." —Bosley Crowther, New York Times (Dec 27, 1940)