IMDb > The Front Page (1931)
The Front Page
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The Front Page (1931) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   1,149 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Ben Hecht (by) and
Charles MacArthur (by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Front Page on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 April 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Hildy Johnson, newspaper reporter, is engaged to Peggy Grant and planning to move to New York for a higher paying advertising job... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(7 articles)
User Reviews:
"It doesn't have to rhyme" See more (23 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Adolphe Menjou ... Walter Burns

Pat O'Brien ... Hildy Johnson

Mary Brian ... Peggy Grant

Edward Everett Horton ... Bensinger
Walter Catlett ... Murphy (as Walter L. Catlett)

George E. Stone ... Earl Williams

Mae Clarke ... Molly

Slim Summerville ... Pincus
Matt Moore ... Kruger
Frank McHugh ... McCue
Clarence Wilson ... Sheriff Hartman (as Clarence H. Wilson)
Fred Howard ... Schwartz (as Freddie Howard)
Phil Tead ... Wilson
Eugene Strong ... Endicott (as Gene Strong)
Spencer Charters ... Woodenshoes
Maurice Black ... Diamond Louie
Effie Ellsler ... Mrs. Grant
Dorothea Wolbert ... Jenny
James Gordon ... The Mayor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Alexander ... Jacobi (uncredited)
James Donlan ... Reporter (uncredited)
Francis Ford ... Carl - a Detective (uncredited)

Clark Gable ... Reporter with hat at table in the prison. (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Sol Gorss ... Policeman (uncredited)
Herman J. Mankiewicz ... Bit (uncredited)
Lewis Milestone ... Bit (uncredited)
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Professor Max J. Engelhoffer (uncredited)
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Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
 
Writing credits
Ben Hecht (by) and
Charles MacArthur (by)

Bartlett Cormack (adaptation by)

Charles Lederer (additional dialogue by)

Produced by
Howard Hughes .... producer (uncredited)
Lewis Milestone .... producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Glen MacWilliams (photography)
Tony Gaudio (uncredited)
Hal Mohr (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
W. Duncan Mansfield (film editor)
 
Set Decoration by
Richard Day (settings)
 
Production Management
Charles Stallings .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nate Watt .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Frank Grenzback .... sound engineer (as Frank Grenzbach)
 
Other crew
Jed Harris .... from the play produced by
Howard Hughes .... presents
George Gerhard .... press representative (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Canada:PA (Ontario) | Spain:T | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The journalists are all based on actual reporters who were Chicago colleagues of authors Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, with most working alongside them at the courthouse. The real names were only slightly changed: Hildy Johnson was based on the real-life reporter Hildebrand Johnson, Walter Burns was based on the editor Walter Howey, and Mac McCue was based on reporter Buddy McHugh.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: In 1927, the year before the original stage play was produced, electrocution replaced hanging as the official method of execution in Illinois. Earl Williams is nonetheless sentenced to hang, not only in the play but also in the 1931 film and its later remakes.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Title card:This story is laid in a mythical kingdom.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Undercover Blues (1993)See more »
Soundtrack:
By the Light of the Silvery MoonSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
"It doesn't have to rhyme", 26 January 2012
Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania

One of the biggest problems facing filmmakers in the early sound era was not a technical one, but one of what form the stories should take. Now that the spoken word was a means of expression, stage plays became a prime source for movie material. The only trouble was that, while the theatre is not necessarily an inferior medium, if you shoot a play simply as it is, no matter how good it would be in the theatre, on the screen it becomes static and dull. There are ways round this problem, and they demonstrate how much of a difference it makes the way in which a movie is filmed.

The Front Page's director, Lewis Milestone, was an ostentatious attention-grabber who liked to make every use of the technology at hand. But all his showing-off was for a purpose. As oppose to the limited dimensions of the stage, Milestone is always staging things in extremes of width and depth, especially when introducing major characters. A really neat manoeuvre is when a cop visits the newsroom during a game of poker. The camera sits on the middle of the small table and pans round as each reporter is harangued in turn. A man walking round a table is a fairly low-key bit of business, but this technique makes it simply whirl. There is only one point where I feel it's too much, when the camera "bounces" up and down on the faces of the reporters as they sing a taunting song. But the great thing is Milestone also knows when to tone it down and let the players shine. He often uses a long, still take for a key scene, such as Pat O'Brien and Adolphe Menjou's talk at the bar.

But an equally important contribution is the sense of realistic camaraderie between the principle members of the cast. The atmosphere in the newsroom straddles comedic exuberance and realistic banter, and as such is absolutely in the spirit of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's original work. Adolphe Menjou shows impeccable control, with movements that are almost cartoonish, such as the little backward lean into his stride off after announcing "I'll kill him!" It's a fresh approach, but one that would catch on, being very much the vein of Clark Gable's Oscar-winning performance in It Happened One Night (1934). Lead man Pat O'Brien is at his most extrovert and, in the process, his most likable. Walter Catlett is unflappably brilliant, and there is also a chance to see Edward Everett Horton honing the persona that would make him a fixture throughout the next decade.

The result is probably the most vibrant and effective stage adaptation of the early talkies, and it set the tone of much of what was to come, straddling the gap between the wild farce of the Marx Brothers and the sophisticated comedies like Dinner at Eight. Later directors (George Cukor, most notably) would learn to tone down Milestone's approach and create stage-to-screen adaptations that flowed smoothly and were purely cinematic, but The Front Page was nevertheless an important jolt to an industry still trying to find its way, and a lesson in how to make a script low on action and confined in space into something dynamic and brassy.

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