Review: So, this plot-line is fantastic. The ideas and the relationships are great. The acting's not too shabby either.
Why, you may ask, did I turn this movie off less than half-way through on my first viewing? The style and the cinematography of this movie are simply disgusting. They make this movie at times painful to watch. The characters don't so much interact with each other as make speeches. They make speeches about how much they love each other. The father makes a speech about how philandering is no one's business except his own. Characters never have one word sentences or just suddenly know what the other person is thinking. It's always an explicit statement of everything that's going on.
Also, the filming is disgusting. This is partly a function of the time period it was made in and partly a function of the purpose. What is the director attempting to accomplish by filming Katharine Hepburn in four out of five shots in bright lights and glamour fog? The director wants to show all of us how beautiful Katharine Hepburn is and to make drooling teenagers of the 1950's come see this film, one that would be otherwise irrelevant to them. Unfortunately, female beauty has not aged well, as you can guess by the Photoshopped pictures on the DVD case. Her cheekbones are too big and the shots made to make her look vulnerable are just kinda creepy. However, this brings us back to what this movie is about. This is a romantic drama in which there is a main, beautiful female being fought over by an old love, a fiance, and she falls for a gossip columnist. It's every Julia Roberts movie ever made rolled into one!
This film is lacking from a modern perspective only from its poor shooting quality and massively unrealistic dialogue. Dumb it down a little bit, change a couple of sets, and this movie would be huge. Some young bombshell with decent acting ability as Katharine Hepburn, George Clooney as Cary Grant, and a comedian as James Stewart. It would make $100 million easy.
This movie has what it takes, but I wasn't willing to give it what it needed: complete and total suspension of belief. Imagine the era in which it was made. 1940: Just coming out of the Depression, just getting into the Second World War. The audience was willing, if not eager, to get out of their dirty, slummy lives and into a comfortable surreal universe of beautiful people and trivial problems of love. Plus, they weren't feeling as lacking for witty dialogue, and the four camera angles didn't bother them so much.