The Philadelphia Story George Cukor

As a film, The Philadelphia Story is a masterpiece. It came at a crucial time in the careers of Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart; it showcased sides of each (Hepburn's haughty sophisticate, Grant's scheming yet earnest playboy, Stewart's snide yet charming everyman) that would help define their on-screen personas forever. The screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, based on Philip Barry's play, rivals great talkative films like All About Eve, where the bon mot is taken as an aperitif. Its social themes — socialite bride (Hepburn) gets her comeuppance but finds true love in the process — also played into the audiences' perception of Hepburn: aloof, impossibly tall and beautiful, smart, sophisticated and a little inaccessible. It revived her then-flagging career for good. On this two-disc issue, the film stands alone — a commentary by film historian Jeannine Basinger is perfectly competent, but it's difficult not to shush someone talking through a work of genius so enduring. More fascinating on a couple of levels is Hepburn's documentary about herself, All About Me — A Self-Portrait, in which her pride in her life's work is offset by her disarming self-deprecation. The film's director, George Cukor, gets a more straightforward edition of the ongoing series The Men Who Made the Movies. But like all great DVD goodies, they all point back to the work itself, enriching and deepening the experience of watching three greats at the top of their respective games play for keeps. Plus: Cartoon, radio adaptations, more. (Warner)