I first saw the The Philadelphia Story as a teenager. I fell hard and instantly for the dialogue - spending time with these characters made me feel worldly and intelligent, which I think is exactly how every 16-year-old girl wants to feel. Their words seemed to effervesce around me, a snapshot of American culture in a very interesting time - the sparkly, cultured breath before the plunge into the gritty, rationed waters of the 1940s. But over the years, though my feelings about its themes are complex, I have discovered more and more to love about this story.
Tracy appealed to that younger me in particular. At the time, all I wanted was to surround myself with fast-talking, confident dames in the style of Rosalind Russell - sharp-tongued women who held their own and gave the fellas a run for their money. Don't get me wrong, I still love those scrappy characters, but I now see that what drew me to Katherine Hepburn's portrayal of Tracy Lord was that she's a gentler model of this archetype: strong, but feminine too, and not competing with the boys so much as operating in her own league completely. She's unflappable, but we get to watch her get flapped, and THAT is compelling.
- Rachel Dendy