Monday Movie Review: The Philadelphia Story


(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Kate Novack '24, Staff Writer

The dictionary defines a romantic comedy as a movie or play that deals with love in a light, humorous way. While I have seen many romantic comedies in my lifetime, The Philadelphia Story is one of my all time favorites.

I am a huge fan of old-fashioned, black-and-white movies. My favorite actors from the 40’s include Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, and more. In this hilarious romantic comedy, Tracy Lord, an elite, high-ranking member of Philadelphian society, is engaged to George Kitteridge. Tracy’s father, Seth Lord, is involved in a large scandal with a dancer on broadway. 

Tracy Lord’s ex-husband, C.K “Dexter” Haven, is a heavy-drinking, yacht designing writer for Spy Magazine. Two writers who work for the same magazine, Macaulay Connor and Elizabeth Imbrie, are assigned to write a story regarding the scandal of Seth Lord. Dexter, still in love with Tracy, gives Connor and Imbrie an exclusive on Tracy’s wedding in exchange for a promise that they will not release the scandal about Tracy’s father. As a writer, I know that when you get a good story idea, you have to jump right on it. This is just one of the many adorable ways Dexter still continues to protect Tracy even though they are not still married.

Dexter’s clever ruse for these two reporters is that they are friends of Tracy’s brother,  Junius. When these two reporters arrive at her house, Tracy knows that something is up, but decides to let them stay to uphold her family’s reputation.

Another favorite character of mine is Tracy’s little sister, Dinah. Dinah steals all the scenes Tracy is in. Many know that sometimes little sisters can be annoying but they can also be sweet and loving. My mom always likes to say that I could be Dinah because of her outgoing, exuberant personality, and her willingness to jump into every conversation there is. Dinah’s absolute favorite, out of all three, is Dexter. During the movie, you see Dexter having special moments with Dinah, which show how close he was with her before the divorce. 

As the movie goes on, Tracy soon realizes that Macaulay is a man of substance. When Tracy wants to find out more information about Macaulay, she goes to find one of his short  stories at the library. There she finds Macaulay, and they enjoy a peaceful, joyous walk home. Soon, Macaulay is falling for her — and Tracy the same.

 In romantic comedies, there is always the one scene where the woman is confused about her feelings and does not know if she should commit or not. The love quadrangle between Tracy, Dexter, George, and Macaulay leaves Tracy feeling confused about which man she truly loves. On the morning of her wedding, Tracy is in her backyard as the company is arriving, thinking about the crazy night before when she went dancing with Macaulay. She also ponders her previous, somewhat happy, marriage with Dexter and her upcoming, potentially unfulfilling, marriage with George. Everyone is pressuring her to make a decision.

Romantic comedies also have the scene where all is resolved and the two main lovers find one another.  This scene always melts me. Normally, I need a pillow, a box of tissues, and perhaps a lozenge to soothe my throat after I scream with glee. While I won’t spoil the ending of the movie, I will say that it will leave you surprised. You also will want more of Tracy (Katherine Hepburn), Dexter (Cary Grant),  Macaulay (Jimmy Stewart), and their screwball antics. 

While some believe that romantic comedies are cheesy and boring, I think they are  hilariously entertaining, cute, and so, you guessed it, romantic. Each week, I will be posting a new “rom com” review. After you read these articles, I suggest you grab YOUR remote, your box of tissues, a cozy beverage, and enjoy! 


Kate Novack ‘24