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THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
1940, Warner Bros., 112 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

Katherine Hepburn had been declared “box office poison” before this delightful romantic comedy, adapted from the Broadway play in which she’d starred, revived her career. She plays Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord, who is just about to get married when her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a reporter (James Stewart) enter the picture. Stewart and screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart both earned Oscars for this almost unimprovable screwball gem, later remade as the musical HIGH SOCIETY.


YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
1938, Sony Repertory, 126 min, USA, Dir: Frank Capra

Director Frank Capra won an Oscar for Best Director (the film also won Best Picture) for this adaptation of the play by George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart about an eccentric, strangely happy family living in a rambling house amidst urban redevelopment. The amazing cast includes Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and Ann Miller.


THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER
1940, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, coworkers in a quaint Budapest shop, clash in person but fall in love via anonymous letters in this charming classic set at Christmastime. Under Lubitsch’s expert direction, the film becomes both an intimate love story and a heartwarming ensemble comedy, as multiple subplots following the lovers’ colleagues, including cantankerous shop owner Frank Morgan and egotistical ladies' man Joseph Schildkraut, are deftly woven into the narrative. A deeply romantic masterpiece based on Miklos Laszlo’s play "Parfumerie" (which also inspired Nora Ephron’s YOU’VE GOT MAIL.)


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