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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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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Murphy (as Walter L. Catlett)
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Molly Molloy
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Irving Pincus
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Kruger
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...
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

The last line of the play had to be partly obliterated by the sound of a typewriter being accidentally struck because the censors (even of that day) wouldn't allow the phrase "son-of-a-bitch" to be used in a film. See more »

Goofs

At approximately 69 minutes, Hildy types furiously at a typewriter, however, with his right hand he only uses his index finger and pushes the same key over and over again. 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

Featured in A Century of Cinema (1994) 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

Entertaining Version of the Story
6 December 2002 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

If it weren't for the even better Howard Hawks remake, "The Front Page" would probably be much more well-remembered today. It's entertaining in its own right, with a slightly different feel from the remake, and it is better than most movies of its own era in at least a couple of important respects. While you can still tell at times that it is from the very early sound era, it does use sound and dialogue more smoothly and constructively (that is, rather than as a mere novelty) than do most early 30's movies.

Adolphe Menjou has the role of Walter Burns, and he is a good fit, giving the character just a slightly different turn from the way that Cary Grant would later play it. The role of Hildy Johnson is somewhat bland in this one - it was the genius of Hawks in changing this role into a more worthy foil for Burns that made "His Girl Friday" so outstanding - but in compensation, some of the other reporters get more to do here. The supporting cast has a number of good character actors, especially Edward Everett Horton as the fussy Bensinger, and it's good that they were given some worthwhile moments of their own. Certainly the great remake deserves its own reputation, but this version deserves to be remembered as well.


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