The Philadelphia Story

  • Film
  • December 3, 2009

For those of you who have never seen The Philadelphia Story, I say go straight to your Netflix queue, get on iTunes, or head to the video store–and watch it! It is a fabulous screwball comedy from 1940 featuring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart. Set in wealthy, WASPy Main Line Philadelphia in the pre-war years, it’s the story of a comedic love triangle between Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn), Macaulay Connor (Jimmy Stewart), and C.K. Dexter Haven (Carey Grant). If for nothing else, one must watch the movie for its gorgeous fashion and its well designed sets. In my naivete, I believed Philadelphia would mirror the film’s aesthetic–all Main Line and manicured lawns. Although Philadelphia has proved to be a quite the opposite, it has not stopped me from continuing to adore this movie!

Look at Hepburn’s fabulous ensemble in this photo from the film–layers of form-fitting gingham and a tunic style top–will someone remind me why we no longer dress like this? That chair behind her however, is absolutely awful with its heavy dark carved wood and needlepoint upholstery.

As Hepburn lights Stewart’s cigarette, I can’t help but look beyond the pair to the over-the-top fireplace with marble mantle and Greek key embellishments. In my mind, one can never go wrong with a Greek key pattern.

Anyone for a swim? That is Hepburn’s version of a beach cover-up! I absolutely love it, and the louvered doors in the Lord family pool house.

I love the architectural details on the stable, especially the fanlight above the doors. And how come we don’t drive cars like this anymore?

How suave is Carey Grant’s collarless jacket? Quite the dandy, and yet the epitome of masculinity. If you look behind Grant’s head, you can see that the windows have venetian blinds on the exterior!–how innovative for a covered terrace. Most annoying when sitting inside and wanting to regulate the light, but I assume that the Lord family aren’t raising and lowering their own blinds. Finally, I love the sneak peak of the Lord’s Chippendale dining chairs set up for Tracy’s wedding reception! The Philadelphia Story is a great gift for any aesthete in your life!

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