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Trivia / The Philadelphia Story

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  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Career Resurrection: After winning an Oscar for 1933's Morning Glory, Katharine Hepburn seemed to be on the right track; her track record proved to be subsequently shoddy, aside from another Oscar nomination for Alice Adams (1935). By the late 1930s, Hepburn was labeled "box office poison", and subsequently bought out her studio contract. She turned to Broadway and starred in a successful play called The Philadelphia Story, and bought the film rights to the play so she could star in the film. A great risk that paid off, as the film resurrected Hepburn's career overnight, and a Hollywood legend is born.
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  • Doing It for the Art: Katharine Hepburn deferred her salary for 45% of the profits.
  • Name's the Same: Tracy Lords, the female protagonist, has NO connection the infamous pornstar.
  • No Stunt Double: Katharine Hepburn did the dive into the swimming pool herself without the aid of stunt double.
  • Reality Subtext: Before she did the original play, Hepburn's career was in a downturn because audiences perceived her as too unsympathetic, so she and Philip Barry shaped the character of Tracy as a Defrosting Ice Queen who would gradually win the audience's sympathy after getting called out on her behavior.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The film was based on a 1939 Broadway play; it was later remade as a musical called High Society, which in turn was adapted as a Broadway musical in 1997.
  • Those Two Actors: This was the last of four films that Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn made together.
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  • Throw It In!: During the scene where James Stewart hiccups when drunk, you can see Cary Grant looking down and grinning. Since the hiccup wasn't scripted, Grant was on the verge of breaking out laughing and had to compose himself quickly. Stewart thought of hiccuping in the drunk scene himself, without telling Grant. When he began hiccuping, Grant turned to Stewart saying, "Excuse me." The scene required only one take.
  • What Could Have Been: Katharine Hepburn wanted Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy to be her leading men, but they were unavailable.
  • Write Who You Know: Playwright Philip Barry based the character of Tracy on Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, a Main Line Philadelphia socialite famous for throwing lavish parties at her family's 800-acre estate in Radnor, PA. The studio reportedly intended to shoot the film at Ardrossan (the name of the family's estate), but decided against it after seeing the size and scale of the main house and the expansiveness of the estate. The producers reportedly thought that no one would believe that anyone could actually live like that, particularly in America in the 1940s.
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