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His Girl Friday (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  18 January 1940 (USA)
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Reviews: 233 user | 85 critic

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.



(screen play), (from the play "The Front Page"), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Hartwell
Porter Hall ...
Ernest Truex ...
Clarence Kolb ...
Frank Jenks ...
Abner Biberman ...
Frank Orth ...
Helen Mack ...


Having been away for four months, Hildy Johnson walks into the offices of the New York City based The Morning Post, where she is a star reporter, to tell her boss, editor Walter Burns, that she is quitting. The reason for her absence was among other things to get a Reno divorce, from, of all people, Walter, who admits he was a bad husband. Hildy divorced Walter largely because she wanted more of a home life, whereas Walter saw her more as a driven hard-boiled reporter than subservient homemaker. Hildy has also come to tell Walter that she is taking the afternoon train to Albany, where she will be getting married tomorrow to staid straight-laced insurance agent, Bruce Baldwin, with whose mother they will live, at least for the first year. Walter doesn't want to lose Hildy, either as a reporter or a wife, and if he does, doesn't believe Bruce is worthy of her. Walter does whatever he can at least to delay Hildy and Bruce's trip, long enough to persuade Hildy to stay for good. His plan ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


She learned about men from him! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ginger Rogers wrote that she was offered the role of Hildy Johnson. She read the script, but this was before Cary Grant was cast, and she turned it down. After learning that Grant was cast, she regretted it. See more »


After Walter's checkup, he puts his tie back on. At first, the skinny (back) end of the tie is longer than the wide (front) end. In the next shot, the front is properly longer than the back. When he goes to put his coat on, the back is longer than the front again. See more »


Walter Burns: [ducking from Hildy's throw and reaching for the ringing telephone] Oh, you're losing your arm! You used to be able to pitch better than that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over a newspaper background. See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Mantis (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Extra Extra
10 April 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"His Gal Friday" is Howard Hawks' tribute to the brilliant play in which this film is based. Charles McGraw and Ben Hecht, two of the best writers of the era, paid tribute to the journalists that wrote for the American newspapers of the thirties. This movie has some of the fastest dialogs in memory.

The incredible combination of Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, and Ralph Bellamy in the main roles is what made this movie a favorite. Mr. Grant as Walter Burns, the unscrupulous newspaper editor, is the perfect foil for Rosalind Russell's, Hildy Johnson, a role that is played by a male in the original play and in the other film versions.

The best moment of the film is the moment when Cary Grant speaking so fast, that some what he says goes over the viewer's heads, refers as to Ralph Bellamy by name as not having a chance and cites in the same breadth his real name Archibald Leach.

It's hard to imagine anyone but Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell playing Walter and Hildy. Ralph Bellamy is perfect as Hildy's fiancé, Bruce Baldwin. Gene Lockhart is perfect as the sheriff Pinky Hartwell. The ensemble of actors that play the reporters following the possible execution of Earl Williams, are perfect.

An excellent comedy thanks to the genius of Howard Hawks.

29 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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