THE PHILADELPHIA STORY

By Leo Racicot

The Philadelphia Story – 1940 – dir. George Cukor

There are few movie treasures as evergreen  as The Philadelphia Story, few movie stars as everlasting as the incomparable Katharine Hepburn. Labeled “box office poison” by Hollywood after making a string of nascent hits followed by a string of stinking bombs, Hepburn fled to her native East Coast to lick her wounds and find solace on the stage, namely in Phillip Barry’s play, “The Philadelphia Story” which became a lucky theater penny for everyone involved, Great Kate most of all.

Hepburn had the savvy to buy full film rights to the vehicle, provided she play the lead. She saw the play as her ticket-to-ride back to Planet Stardom, a kingdom she was to rule over for the rest of her life.

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MY MAN GODFREY

By Christine Bamberger

My Man Godfrey

NOTE: If you’ve not seen this evening’s movie before, you may wish to enjoy our program note after viewing My Man Godfrey.

Does My Man Godfrey have a happy ending?

Somehow I have trouble believing that Godfrey Parke (William Powell) is going to have the happiness with Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) that the surrendering Dr. Cary Grant is slated to enjoy with Katharine Hepburn as Bringing Up Baby comes to its rollicking end. Nor do Powell and Lombard seem destined to share the bliss of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert after their road adventures in It Happened One Night. Poor Godfrey has never indicated much more than patience and politeness toward Irene, while her tantrums and flights of fancy have made her seem less like an alluring woman and more like a child (albeit a sometimes delightful one) with each ensuing scene.

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NORTH BY NORTHWEST: Quintessence of Hitchcock and Rarified Genre

Written by Christine Bamberger

U.S.A, 1959. 136 min. MGM / Loew’s Inc. Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau; Music: Bernard Herrmann; Cinematography: Robert Burks; Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock; Written by: Ernest Lehman; Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

During the 1950s and early 1960s there arose a type of film that I nebulously think of as the “cheerful Technicolor sex comedy.” Including such points on the spectrum as Daddy Long Legs, the Doris Day-Rock Hudson vehicles, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Bell Book and Candle, and I’d Rather Be Rich, these films have dated noticeably, but that’s part of the fun of watching them. Their particular brand of romance, especially if it had a cat-and-mouse quality, was found to blend nicely with an element of adventure. If you imagine a tale of such ilk crossed with an ultra-stylish suspensor of the noir mien, you get North by Northwest. Continue reading