The Philadelphia Story

I ducked off work to see The Philadelphia Story yesterday. In the last two weeks I’ve really started doing this. It’s not normal, I know, and I’m doing it because everyone keeps saying “go to the cinema while you still can”.

The baby’s due in two weeks.

So it was an early afternoon showing. 1.45. You know what that means. 1.45 on a week day in an art house, membership-based cinema. I was the only one there under sixty-five.

And I realised it was a blessing. The film was released in 1940, about five to ten years before most of the audience I watched it with was born. But there must be some rule about comedy: that your taste is shaped by the comedy that was popular not just in your childhood but in the years before you were born.

Because they loved it. I saw the film years ago and I didn’t like it, but seeing it with these over-65s…I’m telling you…In the opening scene Katharine Hepburn kicks Cary Grant out of the house. She breaks one of his golf clubs, smashing it across her thigh. And his reaction? He marches up to her – and face palms her to the ground. Yeah. A move that you rarely even see in rugby – a pure face palm. Next shot is her on the ground, with that “why you pesky little…” look on her face. And the over-65s – more than 2/3s of them women – they loved it.

So please, if you’re going to watch this film at home – go out and round up the oldsters.

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