Monday, March 7, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday – Writers’ Series

Many of the films I like, especially the classic ones, feature a writer as one of its main characters. Not sure if that’s a coincidence or not. Next to cops/detectives, I think writer was the favorite occupation for writers to write about back in the day. Seems like all the iconic actors took a turn at portraying writers, two of the most notable in today’s selection, first in a short series here on DG of writers in movies - The Philadelphia Story, directed by George Cukor in 1940.

High society daughter Tracy Lord, played by Katharine Hepburn, is getting married (again). It’s the news of the century, but closed to the press. As a foot in the door, an editor sends writer Macaulay Connor (Jimmy Stewart), along with a witty female photographer, undercover as friends of the family represented by fellow writer, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), who also happens to be Tracy’s ex-husband. He only agrees because of his ulterior motive – to win Tracy back.

For good reason, this movie won the Oscar for best writing. Crack after crack, witty remark after witty remark, one laugh barely ends by the time the next one is necessary. But it’s not shallow or simplistic. It’s smart and ironic. Word usage is sublime. The story is sound and quite romantic. It’s a family circus, a love triangle…or square…sort of, a comedy of errors, a masterpiece of words.

As much as I like Grant and Stewart and even Hepburn in this one, the show-stealer is Ruth Hussey – the photographer, Elizabeth Imbrie – who accompanies Stewart’s character into the Lord household. Worthy of the Best Supporting Actress nod she received, Hussey delivers the best lines with the perfect blend of sarcasm and sincerity. Among a cast of heavy hitters, she stands out as the one everyone relates to, the one you really cheer for after all is said and done.

I highly recommend The Philadelphia Story. Not only does it feature writers as the main characters, but in a chest full of treasures, it sparkles a little brighter than all the rest.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by