His Girl Friday (1940)
Frequently Asked Questions
His Girl Friday is a remake (with a twist) of the 1931 film The Front Page, which was adapted from the play of the same name, written by American film writer Charles Lederer [1906-1976] and American playwright Ben Hecht [1894-1964] .
"Girl Friday" or "man Friday" are terms for someone's main all-around helper, as taken from the character in Robinson Crusoe, a 1719 novel by English author Daniel DeFoe [d.1731].
The opening title card reads:It all happened in the 'Dark Ages' of the newspaper game ~~ when to a reporter 'getting that story' justified anything short of murder.
Incidentally you will see in this picture no resemblance to the men and women of the press today.
Well, once upon a time ~~
This film was one of the first to use overlapping dialogue. Hawkes allowed Grant, Russell and the other actors to talk over each other and ad lib. Sound mixing techniques in that day didn't allow them separate microphones so the recording required skilled choreography to capture the actors' banter. Read more here.
The "twist" to His Girl Friday is that one of the lead roles in The Front Page was converted from a man to a woman.
Countless distributors, large and small, have released this film. His Girl Friday fell out of copyright and into the public domain, which means any distributor can legally sell copies without paying royalties. Beware. Some small distributors market copies of public domain films with poor picture and sound. Others are more reputable and deliver good transfers of the best available prints. Shop around.
You can begin your search here at Amazon.com. The best available version was restored from its original negative and released by its original studio, Columbia Pictures. By now, Blu-ray disc releases are also available, as reflected in Amazon's online catalog.
Watch His Girl Friday (1940) on archive.org here or Hulu here.