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The Front Page (1974)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 7,011 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 26 critic

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.

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Title: The Front Page (1974)

The Front Page (1974) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sheriff
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Kruger
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Murphy
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Schwartz (as Herbert Edelman)
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The Mayor
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Jacobi
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McHugh
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Rudy Keppler
Lou Frizzell ...
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Storyline

Hildy Johnson is the top reporter on a Chicago newspaper during the 1920s. Tired of the whole game he's determined to quit his job to get married. His scheming editor, Walter Burns, has other plans though. It's the day before guilty (but insane) murderer, Earl Williams, is due to go to the gallows and Burns tempts Johnson to stay and write the story. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's the hottest story since the Chicago Fire... And they're sitting on it.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Front Page  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 4,427,652 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lemmon and Matthau are arguing in Burns' office early in the film, Lemmon mentions having been out of town covering "the monkey trial." In 1999, Lemmon starred as Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind (1999) , based on the 1925 State of Tennessee vs. Scopes trial (Creationism vs. Darwinism/Evolution) better known by the public as the "monkey trials." See more »

Goofs

Earl Williams is scheduled to be executed by hanging in June of 1929. Electrocution replaced hanging as the method of capital punishment in Illinois in 1928. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Walter Burns: That train that just left, what's the first stop?
Telegrapher: Gary, Indiana.
Walter Burns: All right. Send a message to the police chief at Gary, Indiana. Tell him to meet the midnight train to Philadelphia and arrest one Hildy Johnson.
Telegrapher: Hildy Johnson?
Walter Burns: Yeah. Son of a bitch stole my watch.
See more »

Connections

References Some Like It Hot (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
(uncredited)
Written by Wallis Willis
Sung by unknown performer in gaol cell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Updating a classic
25 March 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I'm sure that the reason for Billy Wilder to do a remake of The Front Page is the fact that around the time this was made, politicians running for office on 'law and order' platforms was suddenly coming into vogue. The chief example among these was Richard Nixon and we all know what happened to him in 1974. Seemed like a case of perfect timing to me.

The original material that Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur wrote in the Twenties was perfect for Billy Wilder's cynical mind. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were born to play the roles of Hildy Johnson and Walter Burns.

Of course other things now that the Code was lifted could also be made more explicit. David Wayne's character of Benzinger is quite openly gay in the film. It's an interesting characterization he does. Of course he's the butt of all the jokes in the pressroom, but I thought it rather funny when at the end when title cards show what happened to all the principal characters, he was the only one with a happily ever after ending. He settled down with a life partner and ran an antique store. A rather subtle comment on the sanctity of heterosexual marriage decades before gay marriage was an issue.

Carol Burnett was a big fan of Billy Wilder and it is mentioned in a recent biography of Wilder that she wanted very much to be in one of his films. Carol got her wish and did very well as Molly the prostitute who befriends poor Earl Williams, the anarchist who accidentally killed a policeman and is sentenced to be hung.

Austin Pendleton is all right as Williams, but no one ever played the role quite like John Qualen in His Girl Friday. Qualen had a patent on those little men up against the system parts.

Speaking of His Girl Friday, my favorite part in all versions of The Front Page is that of the messenger from the governor carrying Earl Williams reprieve. No one will ever top Billy Gilbert in His Girl Friday though Paul Benedict of The Jeffersons gives a good account of himself as well.

Sad to say that demagogic politicians who bray about law and order are still among us. Maybe it's time for another remake of The Front Page.


21 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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