A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.
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
In the news room the reporters are playing poker and one of them calls out to the reporter McCue, played by Roscoe Karns, who's sitting by a window that looks on a staircase. "Hey Mac (no response)... Hey Stairway Sam, would you mind turning on some lights." If you back up the DVD a minute or two you'll see why he's "Stairway Sam". In the background of these newsroom scenes McCue (or "Stairway Sam") is trying to look up the women's' dresses as they go up the stair case (at 27:30, 35:20 and 39:00). Even during one of the few serious moments in the film just after Molly Molloy confronts the newsmen with their lies Stairway Sam can't help himself. Not to mention he's flirting with and chatting up every woman who walks by. This was probably something that got by the Hays office censors of the time. See more »
When Hildy is in the office at the beginning of the movie her cigarette hand switches from pointing up to relaxing on her leg. See more »
I suppose I proposed to you?
Well, you practically did, making goo-goo eyes at me for two years until I broke down.
[impersonates Hildy, flutters his eyelashes]
"Oh, Walter." And I still claim I was tight the night I proposed to you. If you had been a gentleman, you would have forgotten all about it. But not you!
[hurls her purse at him]
Why, you - !
[ducks and her purse barely misses him]
You're losing your eye. You used to be able to pitch better than that.
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Opening credits are shown over a newspaper background. See more »
Slapstick comedy that moves faster than the speed of laughter...
This screen adaptation of the Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur play "The Front Page" was adapted for the talents of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell -- there is no such character as Hildy Johnson (Russell) in that play.
Director Howard Hawks wanted to show the whirlwind pace of the newsroom in the criminal courts system so he had his actors overlap their lines -- so much so that at times it seems as though everyone is talking at once; it even gets difficult to understand all that is going on.
He also had the cast move FAST so the film looks totally frenetic from scene to scene with no respite -- either from the laughs or from the action.
There are two really good "inside" jokes in the script: The first is where Walter Burns (Grant) is describing Hildy's fiancee and says that "he looks like that guy in the movies -- Bellamy," Well, it WAS Ralph Bellamy playing that part!
The other is when Burns says something about someone he once knew named "Archie Leach" which just happens to be Cary Grant's real name.
This is one of the true gems of Hollywood's most prolific era. It has incredible pacing, acting, photography and an authentic gritty feeling that would be associated with hard-boiled, "anything for a story" newspaper people.
It has long been one of my favorite films and deserves to be watched over and over again -- just for all the dialogue and great acting that may have gone by so fast you missed it the first time.
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