Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Philadelphia Story

Katharine Hepburn is about to be remarried. Her first husband, Cary Grant, turns up the day before the wedding, bringing along reporters James Stewart and Ruth Hussey. Directed by George Cukor.

Can there be a more perfect film? Let's see - Casablanca, The Godfather, Days of Heaven, Paris Texas... well, I guess there can! But still... It's a pretty much flawless film. There was a moment in time when these people got in front of the camera, 70 years ago actually, it's on film, and we get to watch it in our livingrooms, today or five years from now. The actors, the script and the direction, everything came together for this little masterpiece. Even the girl playing the little sister is good, she's not as annoying as kid actors often can be. Stewart is especially funny in the scenes where he's drunk. It's he who has the most showy part of the male actors; Grant, bless him, doesn't try to steal the spot light, but rather delivers a low key but very appealing performance.

In the beginning of the film Hepburn has no tolerance for human weakness; she is referred to as a goddess to be admired, not a real human being. During the film she learns a lesson, not to put herself or others on a pedestal. It's a bit ironic that that's exactly what has happened with these actors - they have become immortal gods and goddesses. I think it's a bit too easy to have this nostalgic awe for the past and say, Ah, they don't make movies like this anymore. Well, mostly they don't, but I think, say, Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt and George Clooney could have done the job just as well. I'm not talking about a remake, but if it had been an original film made today. And I don't really see any reason why the script couldn't have been written now. Teenagers would be bored out of their skulls watching this film, of course, sending text messages during most of it, but fuck them anyway.

1 comment: