Archive for January 12th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(USA 1940 92m) DVD1/2

Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page

p  Howard Hawks  d  Howard Hawks  w  Charles Lederer  play  “The Front Page” by Charles MacArthur, Ben Hecht  ph  Joseph Walker  ed  Gene Havlick  md  Morris Stoloff  m  Sydney Cutner  art  Lionel Banks  cos  Robert Kalloch

Rosalind Russell (Hildy Johnson), Cary Grant (Walter Burns), Ralph Bellamy (Bruce Baldwin), Gene Lockhart (Sheriff Hartwell), Porter Hall (Murphy), Cliff Edwards (Endicott), Ernest Truex (Roy Bensinger), Clarence Kolb (Mayor), Roscoe Karns (McCue), Helen Mack (Mollie Malloy), John Qualen (Earl Williams), Abner Biberman (Louie), Frank Jenks (Wilson), Regis Toomey (Sanders), Frank Orth (Duffy), Alma Kruger (Mrs Baldwin), Billy Gilbert (Joe Pettibone), Pat West (Warden Cooley), Edwin Maxwell (Dr Egelhoffer),

It all happened in the dark ages of the newspaper game – when to a reporter ‘getting that story’ justified anything short of murder.”  So saieth the introduction and you’d better believe it, brother.  Never in the field of cinematic wordplay have so many words been delivered so brilliantly and so quickly by such an immortal few.  His Girl Friday truly is the fastest, wittiest, sassiest and most hilarious comedy of its day, so cynical as to be typed in venomous ink but with just enough heart to touch the soul.  This is a film that film buffs eulogise over from morning to night, speaking fifty words to the dozen in respect of their idols.  The 1931 straight (if you can call it that) version The Front Page was a fine film in itself, but it pales into near insignificance besides Hawks’ masterpiece.  There are too many lines to quote here, partly because they’re spoken so fast.  But who the hell cares when delivered by actors such as these.

            Hildy Johnson, ex star reporter and wife of Morning Post editor Walter Burns returns to tell her recently divorced ex-husband/boss that she’s leaving the business to get married to a slow-talking dolt in Albany.  Burns cannot believe his ears, and tries to get Hildy to change her mind by getting her embroiled in a case involving political corruption and a potentially unjust execution, in an attempt to get her to stay.  Oh, and getting her intended up on as many phoney charges as his warped, degenerate mind can conjure up in two hours.  (more…)

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