Released 1940 (Brazil)
American, in English (minor non-translated French)
Director - George Cukor
Stars - Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart
Headstrong young socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn), on the eve of her second wedding, finds her life thrown into turmoil by the arrival of her former husband, C.K. “Dexter” Haven (Grant), who brings along cynical journalist Macaulay “Mike” Connor (Stewart).
Very minor blue language; very minor, non-graphic violence.
Skip to the verdict below. There’s so much wrong with it that I can’t list all of it out for you in easy, digestible points.
I absolutely adored Virginia Weidler (as Tracy’s younger sister, Dinah). She lit up every scene she was in.
I always enjoy seeing Stewart play out of type.
Loved the scene where, when asked if he’d slept with Tracy while she was highly intoxicated, Mike replied that there were certain rules in society and that one of them is that you don’t sleep with people who can’t give consent. Heck, a lot of people nowadays don’t get that, let alone back in the 1940s.
SPOILERS! SPOILERS GALORE!
This movie is vile. Nearly all of the men are terrible, awful people (Mike isn’t that bad but he’s the best of the lot, and he still comes dangerously close to sleeping with a woman the night before her wedding). Dexter turns up with the express purpose of ruining Tracy’s wedding. Her fiancé George (John Howard) assumes the worst of her without even bothering to get her side of the story. Her father Seth (John Halliday) is cheating on his wife with a young dancer. Her uncle Willie (Roland Young) gropes women without their consent (and of course is treated with an “Oh you!” attitude by everyone, women included). And yet all of these ridiculously terrible people spend the whole movie telling Tracy how terrible SHE is and talking about how she needs to be taken down a peg or two.
Why? She is, perhaps, a bit spoiled, but many wealthy women in fiction are. Other than that, the only “bad” things I see about her is that she’s strong-willed and opinionated. The horror, right? In the most vomit-inducing scene I’ve seen in the history of ever, Seth actually tells Tracy that if she had been a better daughter, he wouldn’t have cheated on her mother. That’s right, his cheating is his daughter’s fault because older men “need” a young woman to adore them so they don’t feel old. Therefore, if their daughters don’t adore them, they’re forced to chase after other young women. I wish I was making this up. I’ve never wanted so badly to punch a hole through my TV screen before.
The best part is that, after she nearly cheats on George with Mike (actually, in my mind, she does cheat emotionally and she kisses him but everyone acts like it’s all okay because they didn’t have sex), this somehow redeems her. Because now she’s as bad as all the men in the film, I guess? I give up. Seriously, I surrender to your stupidity, film.
Amusingly enough, my husband, who was around while I was watching it but not paying attention, happened to tune in at the end, after Tracy has already dumped George at the altar, right when Mike asks her to marry him instead (keep in mind that he’s known her for all of two days) and she turns him down, only to end up re-marrying Dexter. “Wait,” my husband said, “why is she getting married to Cary Grant? Didn’t Jimmy Stewart just ask her to marry him?” And as I struggled to explain to him why all of that had just occurred, I realized that this movie makes no sense and, quite simply, sucks in every way imaginable.
I give it 1 star.