Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer cinema: The Philadelphia Story

Unlike the rest of the movies so far this summer, I have seen The Philadelphia Story many, many times before.  The first time was over the holiday break during one of my college years.  I was so taken with it that when I returned to campus and discovered that the DVD was also in our library, I checked it out and proceeded to watch it at least three times in a row.  As in I watched it all the way through and then pressed play again immediately when it was over.

So it's fair to say I love this movie.  It's in my top 5 of favorites, and it's the only one on that list that I didn't grow up with.

But there's still something special about seeing it with an audience (other than my family) for the first time.  Sitting in my dorm room with a big grin on my face as Jimmy Stewart drunkenly calls out 'Oh, C.K. Dexter Haaaaaaaven!' is one thing, laughing along with a theater full of people is even more fun.  Plus, when you have seen a movie so many times that you've memorized the lines, you can tend to only be half-watching it (and half-knitting or surfing the web), so being 'forced' to focus on just the movie is refreshing.

Back to the movie itself.  For those who haven't seen it before, I cannot recommend it highly enough. The dialogue is snappy, the characters have depth, and their relationships shift throughout the course of events.  Some things don't age well, like the treatment of Seth Lord's 'investment' in the shapely legs of showgirl Tina Mara.  It's cringe-inducing to feel that the movie sort of agrees that it's a daughter's fault for not loving her father blindly enough if he cheats.  But I do my best to gloss over that intellectually and go with the emotional reconciliations of the end of the film.

Finally, how much do I love this movie?  I love it so much that one of my life's goals is to have a pet dachshund (blame that on growing up in Buda, where we have an annual weenie dog parade and race) and name him C.K. Dexter Haven, so that I can mimic Stewart's call in my backyard, as well as Dinah's ecstatic, 'Dexter, oh Dexter you've come back!' when I let him into the house.

Tracy Lord might judge me for my ridiculousness, but I think Dexter would understand.

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