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Reviews & Ratings for
Front Page Woman More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Sassy Newspaper Comedy on TCM

Author: jayms from New York, NY
17 November 2003

Rival reporters Garfield and Devlin are also a couple who delight in scooping each other often to the detriment of their respective papers. Brent and Davis are charming together and have an easy rapport. Curtiz's workmanlike direction and the rapid fire dialogue still hold up well, helped by the story's hesitation to endorse traditional male/female roles. If this proto-screwball comedy has a flaw it's that Garfield never seems a savvy enough rival for Devlin despite topping him to keep their endless competition going. Reminiscent of `The Front Page' and `His Girl Friday.' Recommended.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Brent & Davis were Great Together

10/10
Author: whpratt1 from United States
15 March 2007

Greatly enjoyed this Betty Davis film which I had never viewed and found Davis at her very best in appearance and in a very light hearted role she portrayed as Ellen Garfield. I believe Davis was around 27 years of age when she appeared in this film and she was very charming and had a good supporting actor, George Brent, (Curt Devlin) who was a star reporter for his newspaper and was in competition with Ellen Garfield to get the big scoop or headline stopper for their respective newspapers. This couple were also love birds who had intentions to get married only under certain terms they agreed upon together, a sort of contest that would lead to some very important big steps in their lives. Veteran actor Roscoe Karns, (Toots O'Grady) was the photographer for Curt Devlin and gave a great supporting comical role through out the entire picture. This is a very enjoyable 1935 Classic film and I believe that Davis and Brent both gave outstanding performances. Enjoy.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

For its Time--a Rare Feminist Film

7/10
Author: Kittyman from United States
24 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Front Page Woman" (1935) uses the same feminist "rivals in business; partners in love" motif that "Traveling Saleslady" (1935) does. However, "Woman" is a murder mystery involving reporters; "Saleslady" is a comedy involving salespersons. Still, it's interesting to compare the two.

Both films have great supporting performances, excellent pacing, and flawless plots. Playing masters of their fields, both leading men (George Brent) and (William Gargan) perform well. Indeed, a surprisingly animated Brent does, for him, an absolutely charming job. (Perhaps the mutual sexual attraction he and Davis had was the spark behind it.) Where the films differ, however, is in their leading ladies' performances, and in their romantic resolutions.

Bette Davis, like Joan Blondell, keeps claiming she is her rival's equal. But clearly, unlike Blondell, she is not. She doesn't have Brent's creative mind, his street smarts, his social skills, or his stomach for the job (she faints, for example, at the execution she demanded to attend). When he offers her help, she turns him down, and when, out of revenge, he sets traps for her, she falls into them.

The film's end, however, does offer redemption. Not only does Davis solve the mystery, and get her job back--she also gets her man. Brent, in a rare feminist resolution for its time, tells her how much he respects what she has done, and seems willing to have her continue working after marriage. (One wonders how much the steel-willed Davis influenced this outcome?) Whether she chooses to, however, is more ambiguous. While Blondell, in stark contrast, blithely tosses away a terrific sales career to placate her "oinky" husband to be.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A better than average Bette Davis film from the mid-1930s

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
15 April 2007

Bette Davis plays a plucky female reporter who just got the chance to do lead stories--those traditionally done exclusively by men. A rival reporter, George Brent, is in love with her but also has little respect for her "trying to make it in a man's world"--so naturally she refuses to marry a man who doesn't respect her. In the midst of their arguments, Brent proposes a contest to see which can get the biggest scoop during a murder investigation and the subsequent trial. Now this all could have been very predictable or sexist, but somehow both pitfalls were avoided.

Sure, this isn't the deepest or best film that Bette Davis made in her long and distinguished career, but for the mid-1930s it's pretty good stuff. Although Warner Brothers employed one of the finest actresses of all time in the form of Miss Davis, up until the late 30s, they bounced her around from bad to mediocre to top of the line films and back again! So inconsistent were these roles that even after being Oscar nominated (OF HUMAN BONDAGE) and receiving the Oscar (DANGEROUS), Miss Davis STILL bounced around the studio in predictable programmers, B-movies AND A-films as well. As a result, she walked out of her contract (briefly).

Despite all this, FRONT PAGE WOMAN was a good film for her career--as it was quite enjoyable, gave her a chance to appear with her favorite leading man (George Brent) and gave her a decent (though not always believable) leading role. The film is a typical battle of the sexes film which weren't especially uncommon during Hollywood's Golden Age and like many of these films (such as PAT AND MIKE and WOMAN OF THE YEAR), it was a lot of fun. Plus, the chemistry between Davis and Brent was wonderful and I wish their films together got more attention--they are always enjoyable even when the writing isn't up to snuff (as in a few of their films together).

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

To Scoop Or Not To Scoop

5/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
26 January 2009

With Bette Davis doing a role that Glenda Farrell or Joan Blondell was used to doing and George Brent standing in for James Cagney or Pat O'Brien, Front Page Woman is about a sob sister columnist wanting to prove she's as good at investigative reporting as the man she loves. Brent's a good guy all right, but he certainly believes that woman's place is in the home or writing a woman's column about same.

The chance comes when both are sent by their rival papers to cover a fire. The fire it turns out was only a ruse to cover the stabbing of a bigshot played by Huntley Gordon. As the investigation, arrest, and trial proceed, Davis and Brent go on scooping spree to show the other up who is the better reporter.

That kind of fun can certainly put a strain on a relationship and the two of them, Brent more so, play fast and loose with the criminal justice system to get that scoop over the other. In the end the crime revolves around a love triangle with Gordon, mystery lady Wini Shaw, and polo player Gordon Westcott.

Contrary to rumor Bette Davis could play comedy though it was not her strong suit. Her material is slight, but she does her best to rise above a role she's miscast in. Her devoted fans will certainly not turn away from Front Page Woman.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

the one about the male and female competing reporters

6/10
Author: blanche-2 from United States
16 June 2013

Bette Davis and George Brent star in "Front Page Woman," a 1935 film from Warner Brothers. Davis and Brent, of course, were often paired, and they make a cute couple here. Davis is reporter Ellen Garfield, and Brent is ace reporter Curt Devlin. They're in love, but competitive at the same time, Ellen determined to prove herself. Given the time period, Curt pooh-poohs Ellen's abilities, because of course as a married woman, she isn't going to be working. But she's not marrying him until she proves herself, and as far as working after marriage -- well, we'll see.

The two compete getting the story on a murder case, even listening at the keyhole during jury deliberation and both reporting opposite verdicts - and both making headlines. It's a game of oneupmanship all the way through.

Surprisingly feminist in its tone at the end, "Front Page Woman" is a fun film, with a hilarious performance by Roscoe Karns as a photographer thrown in. Always great to see Davis at any age. Here, young, blond, and vivacious, she's adorable.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Davis-Brent beginning to gel

7/10
Author: vincentlynch-moonoi from United States
17 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Memo to Michael Curtiz (director): Before you begin filming, decide whether your story is a drama or a comedy.

From my perspective, that's the main problem that kept this good film from being great. I see it more as a drama, yet others see it more as a comedy. And that confusion is often a problem for a film. Yes, you can have moments of drama in a comedy. And, yes, you can have levity in a drama. But movies with split personalities don't often work, or at least (as in this case) don't work as well as they could. And just for the record, this would have been best as a straight drama.

On the other hand, the screen pairing of Bette Davis and George Brent was beginning to mature here. In 1934 -- just a year earlier -- they were paired in "Housewife". There, they were just two actors in the same film. Here, just one year later, they are developing that on-screen rapport that was magic in so many movies. Oh, it's not quite there yet, but in this film you begin to think that you'd like to see them together more.

In terms of supporting cast, I found Roscoe Karns as the wise-cracking photographer a bit annoying. One out of every ten wisecracks were actually funny. The other supporting actors do their jobs, but none stand out. However, you will recognize quite a few faces.

Overall, a pretty good movie, though not one of the classic Davis - Brent efforts.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Macho Warners newspaper crime caper that gets a boost from some feminism.

6/10
Author: mark.waltz from United States
8 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When rival reporter and girlfriend Bette Davis passes out at the execution of a Broadway star found guilty of murder, the chauvinistic George Brent uses this to try and prove to her that a woman's place is behind the stove and that it is a man's job to report the news. This is Brent's romantic way of proposing which Davis turns down, determined to prove him wrong. They both end up working overtime to scoop each other over a murder which took place at a fire that Davis initially reported on. It leads to a lot of witty banter between them and many amusing situations with each of them tied until the final minutes as to who has the one-up on the other.

What could be a rather predictable battle of the sexes comedy with the man ultimatelty convincing the little woman to put on an apron and give up her career for him has the nice little twist of this not about to happen. It is one of the more feminist liberal views of a woman's career in the 30's from the most macho studio in Hollywood. Just a few years before, both Kay Francis (in "Man Wanted") and Ruth Chatterton (in "Female") tried but failed to get past what Warners felt a woman's place should be. Davis stands her ground here, but the secondary story of the murder that they are investigating is never as interesting as the interactions between the two leads. Singer Winifred Shaw is a rather dour femme fatale, but Roscoe Karns is amusing as Brent's photographer pal.

There are some amusing little character bits, particularly Mary Treen's as an too willing to be helpful nurse. The story is all wrapped up neatly with a great denouncement that ranks higher as a pro-women's film and could have been an interesting series.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Sassy Newspaper Comedy on TCM

Author: jayms from New York, NY
17 November 2003

Rival reporters Garfield and Devlin are also a couple who delight in scooping each other often to the detriment of their respective papers. Brent and Davis are charming together and have an easy rapport. Curtiz's workmanlike direction and the rapid fire dialogue still hold up well, helped by the story's hesitation to endorse traditional male/female roles. If this proto-screwball comedy has a flaw it's that Garfield never seems a savvy enough rival for Devlin despite topping him to keep their endless competition going. Reminiscent of `The Front Page' and `His Girl Friday.' Recommended.

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Davis smiles light up this film of rival reporters

8/10
Author: SimonJack from United States
20 July 2016

By the time she made this film, Bette Davis had been in more than two dozen movies, and she had attained leading lady status. Never known or remembered for comedy, she nevertheless made several comedies and this is one of her early ones. In "Front Page Woman," Davis has the looks and smarts that make her a competing "newspaperman," to rival journalist and boyfriend George Brent.

Davis plays Ellen Garfield and Brent is Curt Devlin. A good supporting cast is headed by Roscoe Karns as Toots, a news photographer. All the cast are good and Ellen and Curt have a friendly rivalry for getting the front-page story. At times they are very serious, but love is in the making with these two. As the plot unfolds here, the two match wits to solve a crime and get the big front-page splash ahead of the cops and one another.

It's a fun story and the leads have very good chemistry. Davis smiles a lot in this film – something moviegoers didn't see very often with this giant of the silver screen over five decades in her many serious, dramatic and mystery roles. It's nice to see Davis with Brent, whom she considered among her favorite leading men. It's easy to see why he was her favorite in this film. He has an affable, kind persona here, even as an otherwise shrewd and accomplished reporter.

Most people should enjoy this film.

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