Friday, November 05, 2010

A pleasurable dilemma


What if you were so beautiful and accomplished that you could make any man on this earth fall for you in an instant? What if you were blessed with the disposition of a goddess, one without any mortal flaws or inconsistencies, and three dashing, talented young men were ready to offer you their affections? Whom would you choose?

If I were to present the readers with a gist of the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story then the above three sentences would suffice. Without digressing any further let me clue you in to the plot of my most recent watch.

Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) is a rich Main Line Philadelphia heiress who divorced her equally wealthy ex-husband and childhood friend C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) on grounds of alcoholism. She is all set to marry the nouveau riche George Kittredge (John Howard) and enter into a new life. But there's a minor setback to her plans as two Spy magazine reporters Macaulay "Mike" Connor (James Stewart) and Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) pose as friends of her brother Junius to cover the wedding in detail. However Tracy is not deceived and reluctantly agrees to let them stay after Dexter informs her that the Spy magazine editor Sidney Kidd has a scandalous article on her father Seth whom she believes has an affair with a dancer. Much to Tracy's chagrin both her mother Margaret and teenage sister Dinah welcome Dexter with open arms and to add to the mess she finds herself torn between her ex-husband, fiance and the reporter Mike. 

To be honest the movie doesn't have much to offer in terms of the central plot or story but fabulous performances by stalwarts like Hepburn, Grant and Stewart, rich dialogues laden with wit and sarcasm and classy one-liners will keep you engrossed from beginning till end.
Sample this :-
Tracy : Did you enjoy the party?
Mike : Sure. Sure. The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges.
Contrary to popular perception I'd say this movie did not seem anything like a romantic comedy to me. For a woman torn between three men in her life...it's impossible to say with conviction that she is genuinely in love with any one of them. And the choice she makes at the very end appears to have been made more in accordance with the situation rather than for any other reason.

I'm not remotely proud of this confession but I'm usually the one who always roots for the female protagonist under all circumstances. But despite that I can't get myself to feel any empathy towards Tracy Lord or her dilemma. She considers herself to be the epitome of perfection and yet commits a blunder by kissing another man in a bout of drunken stupor on the eve of her wedding. Furthermore she refuses to recall what happened the previous night on the morning of her wedding when her ex-husband, sister and even her fiance had witnessed everything that had happened. She even keeps on treating her loving ex-husband quite harshly till the very end even when he is the one covering up for all her gaffes.
That's why I'll remember Tracy Lord not for being a woman of character but for being an opportunist.
Compared to Tracy the characters of Dinah, who strongly disapproves of her elder sister marrying Kittredge, and Liz, the photographer smitten with Mike, will remain more memorable.

Final thoughts on the movie : Cary Grant is (appropriately, was) hot . And Katharine Hepburn not as beautiful and charming as Audrey Hepburn. (fans not to murder me after this, please)
If you're one who admires classics, go watch it now.



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19 comments:

vivek said...

hi Sammy,

fist of all.wish you and your family a very happy Diwali..
loved your movie review :-))
take care ks :-)

bibhash k jha said...

I couldnt find the movie .. but i happened to see the play ..and it was seriously awesome ..a work of art defenitely

Theatre of the Absurd

Anish said...

OMG This is one of my fav rom-coms ever!

Excellent performances all round-Jimmy Stewart steals the show,Hepburn is amazing in her role and Grant is as charming as ever-

This movie stars my all time favourite actor Jimmy and all time favourite actress Katherine so this one is very close to my heart.

as for the review I agree-Tracy is hard to like in this movie but that guy she was marrying even less so...

"C.K.Dexter Haven you love her don't you C.K.Dexter Haven?"

the thing is-Tracy wasn't pompous or snobbish she set standards very high and was afraid to let her guard down-that's who she was-the one she identified with was Stewart's character-she loved Grant..and the guy she was marrying was purely out of social convention-he was the kind of guy she was "supposed" to marry as per her image and standards.

great movie and sorry for writing my own review here :D

P.S-Katherine may not be that hot or beautiful but she's got the personality and that's something that is very attractive in a woman.

D2 said...

Will download and watch the movie asap.
And I second Anish's postscript. :P

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

well..i also dont like that kind of protagonist..if Tracy Lord is lie that hmmpff..i wont bother myself watching it..i hate opportunists who think high of themselves ..

haha..but anyway, thanks for the review..:)

and also thanks for reading the fantasy fiction i am currently doing..:)

Samadrita said...

@Vivek: Happy Diwali to you too. :-)

@Bibhash: Oh did you? That's awesome. I hear the movie was inspired from the play.

@Anish: haha it's okay. I liked Stewart's character too..Tracy's not so much.

@D2: Lol Anish is way too passionate about movies.

@ayu: This is a classic movie. You should watch it if you're fond of them. :-)

mohit said...

hey...belated happy diwali....

haven't been here in a while so thought I'd say hi

:)

TD said...

@What if you were so beautiful and accomplished that you could make any man on this earth fall for you in an instant?
Do you really think great beauty and accomplishment in a woman would make any man to fall for her?



TD

Nethra said...

You should write reviews on all the animes and dramas you watch especially hana yori dango and you're beautiful and coffee prince.

D2 said...

You have been tagged.
See Tag for details.
:)

evanescentthoughts said...

This is one movie that I wanted to watch from a long time.. your review gave a gist, I might actually like the movie. Let me watch it and then will comment on it :)

Samadrita said...

@mohit: Belated diwali greetings to you too. And yea I'm fine.

@TD: Well I was generalizing as that's usually the case.

@Nethra: I was thinking along the same lines. But I was wondering whether the readers unfamiliar with Asian dramas would like such reviews or not. :-(

@D2: Already done it Abhishek. :P

@evanescentthoughts Sure thing Avada. Watch it and lemme know how you felt about it.

Dylan said...

Sammy, Katherine and Audrey aren't related.

Samadrita said...

@Dylan: Dude, I know. I was only comparing them 'cause 1)they have the same surname and 2)they possessed a similar kind of popularity.

Alka Gurha said...

Will hv to watch the movie...Hey! Very unusual name. What does it mean? Also love ur selection of fav books.

TD said...

Choose your words carefully, Samadrita.
Every word counts.




TD

Samadrita said...

@Alka: Hey there thanks for the visit and liking my choice of books. About my name..it refers to a female person who is loved and respected by all. Glad to know you like it. :-)

@TD: First of all...I chose to answer your question very courteously in my last reply without getting annoyed about the fact that your comment could be regarded as spam since it is not relevant to the movie review I wrote. Secondly...about your free advice about me choosing my words carefully goes...the sentence
What if you were so beautiful and accomplished that you could make any man on this earth fall for you in an instant? was just rhetoric. I wanted to convey to my readers the image of a very attractive woman in the eyes of men. That's all. Besides this is not a science-based research document I'm authoring where I'm only allowed to use scientifically-proven statements. Next time you comment...I hope you write something relevant to the post or not comment at all. Thanks! :-)

Mayank said...

I wonder if all movies which have a 'Philadelphia' connection, seem good? This one is no doubt, one of the finest of Hepburn.

atindriyo said...

i enjoyed it! :)

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