Monday, March 2, 2009

More on The Philadelphia Story

I mentioned The Philadelphia Story about a year ago, specifically in reference to Katharine Hepburn's playing a self-absorbed jerk. It's airing again at 10:00 PM ET on March 2, and if I weren't in the Eastern Time Zone, I'd stay up to watch it to the end. From Franz Waxman's opening piano theme to the photographic ending, it's a movie that glitters with MGM class in every single shot.

Today, though, I'd like to mention a different cast member's performance: Virginia Weidler. She plays the kid sister of Katharine Hepburn, and she's perfect. She's precocious and bratty, even before the grown-ups get the idea to put on an act for the tabloid reporters played by James Stewart and Ruth Hussey. As such, she gets some really choice lines in the movie. Their father has been doing something (presumably fooling around and drinking) that causes Hepburn not to want him at the new wedding, and Weidler knows fully well that something is up: "The papers are full of innundo," she says. And she knows about what happened between her sister and the first husband (Cary Grant): "Is he going to slug her again?" she asks her mother. And then, there's her rendition of "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady", which has to be seen (and heard) to be believed....

Sadly, Virginia Weidler retired young from the movies and suffered a lifelong heart ailment that eventually caused her premature death when she was only in her early 40s. However, we still have her movies, and The Philadelphia Story is one of her best.

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