Philadelphia Story Character Analysis

Decent Essays
Philadelphia Story Character Analysis

George Cukor’s star studded romantic comedy, The Philadelphia Story (1940), offers modern viewers a look at changing personalities in 1930s/40s American high society. The film stars Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and James Stewart in a clash of cultures centered around a wedding. Macaulay Connor (Stewart) is a reporter for tabloid like Spy Magazine, on assignment to write an exposé on the marriage of wealthy Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) with the help of her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant). While all of the characters present go through a dramatic change of outlook, Connor’s is the most drastic. Macaulay Connor’s goal in life is to be respected for his writing. He works for Spy
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When asked about her wedding, she comments, “We aren’t allowing any reporters in, except for little Mr. Grace who does the social news. Can you imagine a grown up man having to sink so low?”
A little later in the same meeting, Tracy asks if Connor and Elizabeth are dating and receives only uncomfortable spluttering from the couple. Tracy then insinuates that Connor should have married Elizabeth if he loves her, at which Connor jerks and becomes uncomfortable. This moment exposes Connor’s emotional distance, an issue that continues throughout the film. It appears that Connor is unaware of his emotional objectivity towards his girlfriend, Elizabeth, until the end of the film. When asked why she has not married him yet, Elizabeth responds, “he’s still got a lot to learn. I don’t want to get in his way for a while.”
While he is aware of his classism towards the wealthy, it is not until the end of the film that he recognizes that his prejudice towards the upper class is unfair. Connor is not aware of the extent to which he expresses his dislike of the upper class, in spite of being faced with examples that prove him wrong.
As the story progresses, Connor begins to realize that the wealthy are as dysfunctional as everyone else. They have personal dilemmas, trauma, and struggles. His view of Tracy, the epitome in his eyes of upper class snobbery, begins to change when he discovers her reading his book in the library. “Are you sure you’re
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