As The Philadelphia Story, starring Bryn Mawr College alum Katharine Hepburn, celebrates its 75th anniversary, Greater Philadelphia Film Office executive director Sharon Pinkenson talks about the classic movie.
In The Philadelphia Story, Katharine Hepburn played a larger-than-life character from the very real Main Line.
“You can’t help but watch The Philadelphia Story with a big smile on your face, full of fascination. It was 1940, and World War II was underway. This film was a great opportunity to have fun and enjoy the fantasy, something that was so distant from the reality of life at that time. Hope Montgomery Scott (who Katharine Hepburn’s character was based on) was larger than life. She was wild, and rich, and smart. We could only fantasize about having a life like hers. Philadelphia benefited from the film in that way: Suddenly everyone knew about the Main Line, and that it was where all the wealthy Philadelphians lived. It was about a real person in Philadelphia, in a bona fide mansion. I suppose there were people at the time who thought it was actually shot in Philadelphia, but not a single frame was shot here. The backstory about the actors is really interesting. They were all vying for the film to be made and to have starring roles, and it was going to be a career ‘make or break’ kind of movie. The Philadelphia Story was coming on the heels of a bunch of really wonderful films at that time. There were a lot of silly romantic movies that were carrying Hepburn’s career, and yet this movie was all about Hepburn playing Hope Scott. It was a huge success for her. On my list of ‘People I Wish I Could Have Dinner With,’ Hepburn would be at the top.”