• Flawlessly performed and dizzyingly paced, The Philadelphia Story has intoxicated audiences ever since its 1940 release, going on to earn six Oscar nominations the following year—and taking home two statuettes—on the way to securing its immortal status as one of golden-age Hollywood’s finest screwball comedies. As socialite Tracy Lord, who finds herself caught in a love triangle of sorts with her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a tabloid reporter (James Stewart) on the eve of her wedding to another man entirely, Katharine Hepburn lights up the screen, conveying the effervescent intelligence and veiled vulnerability of her headstrong daughter of privilege. Indeed, it was a role she had spent years honing: before acquiring the film rights herself, and recruiting her friend George Cukor to direct, Hepburn had starred in the Broadway version, whose success ended a series of flops for both the actress and the author of the play, Philip Barry. In the clip above—taken from In Search of Tracy Lord, a new documentary included on our brand-new edition of The Philadelphia Story—Donald Anderson (author of Shadowed Cocktails: Philip Barry from “Paris Bound” to “The Philadelphia Story”) and Miranda Barry (the playwright’s granddaughter) recount the comedy’s path to the stage, and how Hepburn and Barry collaborated closely to create the character that would help revitalize both of their careers.

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