The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Hailed rightly as one of the finest moments of American cinema, The Philadelphia Story was and remains a fast-paced intelligentsia showpiece, so filled with intellectual banter, ingenious metaphors and linguistic swashbuckling that one single viewing won't do it justice. And although these aforementioned qualities may not be immediately associated with 'entertaining' by most people, in the hands of the spirited George Cukor the film comes strangely and uncontainably alive (and stays that way until the very end). It's as if it rises from the remnants of the traditionalistic Hollywood romance films of the 1930s, and takes on a little spite, a great deal of confidence, and a sense of moral ambiguity in the process. Donald Ogden Stewart's script is brilliantly adapted from Phillip Barry's play, but it's equally as much the interplay and unique chemistry between the three lead stars which creates the wonderful effect; Grant's confidence and offish glances, Hepburn's style and dramatic power, and Stewart's delicate youthful arrogance.