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The Front Page (1931)

TV-PG | | Comedy | 4 April 1931 (USA)
An investigative reporter sees an opportunity for the story of a lifetime when an accused murderer escapes hanging.

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Writers:

(by), (by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
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Murphy (as Walter L. Catlett)
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...
Molly
...
Pincus
...
Kruger
...
...
Sheriff Hartman (as Clarence H. Wilson)
Fred Howard ...
Schwartz (as Freddie Howard)
...
Wilson
Eugene Strong ...
Endicott (as Gene Strong)
Spencer Charters ...
Woodenshoes
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Storyline

Hildy Johnson, newspaper reporter, is engaged to Peggy Grant and planning to move to New York for a higher paying advertising job. The court press room is full of lame reporters who invent stories as much as write them. All are waiting to cover the hanging of Earl Williams. When Williams escapes from the inept Sheriff, Hildy seizes the opportunity by using his $260 honeymoon money to payoff an insider and get the scoop on the escape. However, Walter Burns, the Post's editor, is slow to repay Hildy back, hoping that he will stay on the story. Getting a major scoop looks possible when Hildy stumbles onto the bewildered escapee and hides him in a roll-top desk in the press room. Burns shows up to help. Can they keep Williams' whereabouts secret long enough to get the scoop, especially with the Sheriff and other reporters hovering around? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 April 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Primeira Página  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Continuing a practice common to the silent era, the film was shot with three cameras at the same time. This created three different negatives. The best negative was used for the US version. The second best was used for the UK version. And the final negative was used for the general international version. Additionally, some scenes were re-shot with different dialogue for the international markets. See more »

Goofs

The visor Murphy's wearing changes between camera angles from level to cocked at a steep angle. Making it obvious some scenes were either shot out of order. Or had to be redone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title card: This story is laid in a mythical kingdom.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits consist of Walter and Hildy above a big 'THE END,' covering a large question mark, while the sound of the train is heard and music plays. There is also laughter, presumably coming from Walter Burns. See more »

Connections

Version of His Girl Friday (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

By the Light of the Silvery Moon
(1909) (uncredited)
Music by Gus Edwards
Played on banjo early in the film
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User Reviews

 
Very good
23 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Newspaperman Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien) is quitting the business and getting married to Peggy (Mary Brian). But his unscrupulous boss Walter Burns(Adolphe Menjou) doesn't want him to quit. Also an innocent man is about to be hanged and Burns will do anything to make sure Johnson works on that story.

Fast and funny--the first cinematic version of this story. It shows its age at times and some of it is wildly overacted but O'Brien and Menjou are both just great in their roles. Also director Lewis Milestone uses some very unusual camera tricks to keep the story moving and there's lots of action and running around which is unusual for an early talkie.

This was remade in 1940 with a sex change making Johnson a woman. That was "His Girl Friday" with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. That one is better than this but this is better than the 1974 version (that had Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) and 1988 remake called "Switching Channels" (with Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds). They're all good to varying degrees but this one came first. Worth seeing.


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