Identify the two characters that appear to have stepped out of a pose in the pages of the old Vanity Fair, and you’ll know the outcome of the American classic comedy The Philadelphia Story.
It is in the thrust of the chin, don’t you know, and in the arch of the back, and how one handles one’s wrist. It is in the genes, the well-borne genes, which make the grade and open the doors of high society, Philadelphia style. And there is no getting away from it, come either hell or high heaven or a variety of other topic sentences at work in this nutty play — topics such as blackmail, philandering, alcoholism and the moving target of marriage.
The marriage game — whether one is in it or out of it, and by the way, with whom? — is the core topic of The Philadelphia Story, written for Katharine Hepburn by Philip Barry, first on stage in 1939 and then on the screen in late 1940. It is hard to imagine the incredible circumstances that swirl around the nubile Tracy Lord, heiress to millions.