1 user 1 critic

The Front Page (1970)

Hildy Johnson wants to quit the newspaper business; his unscrupulous editor, Walter Burns, will do anything to get him to stay. Things come to a head when Earl Williams escapes from jail on the eve of his execution.



(play), (play)


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An investigative reporter sees an opportunity for the story of a lifetime when an accused murderer escapes hanging.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Pat O'Brien, Mary Brian
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Susan Sarandon
The Front Page (1949–1950)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Newspaper comedy/drama based loosely on the 1928 stage play and its subsequent film adaptations.

Stars: John Daly, Mark Roberts, Richard Boone
The Man Without a Country (TV Movie 1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

During the 1800s, an American officer who renounces his country during his court-martial is sentenced to sail the seas on American warships without ever setting foot on American soil again or getting news of America.

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Cliff Robertson, Beau Bridges, Peter Strauss
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A crook on the run hooks up with a criminal gang to commit a kidnapping. However, things don't go quite as planned.

Director: René Clément
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Robert Ryan, Lea Massari
The Busy Body (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Sid Caesar stars as the bumbling right hand man of mob boss Robert Ryan who is sent to find a corpse buried in a suit lined with stolen mob money.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Sid Caesar, Robert Ryan, Anne Baxter
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

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

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
The Outfit (1973)
Crime | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Earl Macklin robs a bank owned by the mob, serves his prison time and is released, only to start a private war against the crime outfit that owned the bank.

Director: John Flynn
Stars: Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A salesman with a sudden passion for reform has an idea to sell to his barfly buddies: throw away your pipe dreams. The drunkards, living in a flophouse above a saloon, resent the idea.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Lee Marvin, Fredric March, Robert Ryan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

An ambitious TV newscaster has an affair with the wife of a network executive to get a promotion.

Director: Jack Haley Jr.
Stars: John Phillip Law, Dyan Cannon, Robert Ryan
The Front Page (TV Movie 1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Ed Sobol
Stars: Vinton Hayworth, Matt Crowley, Howard Smith
The Front Page (TV Movie 1948)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Basil Appleby, Harold Ayer, Michael Balfour


Cast overview:
Walter Burns
Hildy Johnson
Mrs. Grant
Mollie Malloy
Harold J. Kennedy ...
Susan Watson ...
Peggy Grant
Sheriff Hartman
Doro Merande ...


Hildy Johnson wants to quit the newspaper business; his unscrupulous editor, Walter Burns, will do anything to get him to stay. Things come to a head when Earl Williams escapes from jail on the eve of his execution.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »







Release Date:

31 January 1970 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Front Page opened at the Times Square Theater (New York City) on August 14, 1929 and ran for 276 performances. See more »


Version of Switching Channels (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Turn the page: no news here

'The Front Page', the famous stage comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, was based on their own experiences as reporters in the 1920s for two of Chicago's most cut-throat newspapers. Ben and Charlie worked for two different newspapers, but they weren't rivals: MacArthur wrote for an (upper-class) evening newspaper and Hecht wrote for a (working-class) morning tabloid, so their readerships didn't overlap. When they wrote 'The Front Page', the co-authors literally flipped a coin to see whose name would be listed first: Hecht won. After the play's success on Broadway (and as a film), they continued to recycle the plot for uncredited remakes: the adventure film 'Gunga Din' copies some of its plot and characterisation from 'The Front Page'.

This hardy perennial has been filmed and remade many times, most interestingly as 'His Girl Friday', in which the role of star newsman Hildy Johnson is rewritten as a woman. There's even been a musical version, 'Windy City', which I saw onstage in London. (I didn't much fancy it.)

Charles MacArthur was one of the great characters of Broadway and Hollywood, and quite a few screenwriters of Hollywood's golden era used Charlie as the inspiration for colourful male leads in screwball comedies (such as the character played by William Powell in 'Double Wedding'). Ben Hecht's films were banned in Britain during the 1950s, due to his controversial comments on the Palestine issue. The hilarious film 'Gaily Gaily' is inspired by Ben Hecht's early days as a Chicago newspaperman.

The 1970 television production of 'The Front Page' brings absolutely nothing new to the newsroom. Nowadays, when all of the other film versions are available on video, this low-budget 1970 production is totally unnecessary: in 1970, it at least had the merit of bringing this American stage classic to a pre-VCR audience. For modern viewers, the only unique aspect of this version is a brief prologue by Helen Hayes, who was Charles MacArthur's widow ... and she traded on that fact for at least three decades. (For my money, Charles MacArthur was the real talent in that family.)

In the lead role of editor Walter Burns (based on legendary Chicago editor Walter Howey), Robert Ryan is a disaster. Ryan was invariably inept in comedy roles, ahd here he's at the bottom of his form. George Grizzard is only marginally better (and slightly effeminate) as Hildy Johnson. Estelle Parsons plays her role on a rising note of hysteria: when her character falls out the window, my reaction was 'Good riddance!'. Throughout, the dialogue has been cleaned up slightly for television, which is a mistake for this particular subject matter. Also, I could have done without the presence of screech-voiced Doro Merande, who was one of the most annoying performers ever to appear in films.

The best performance in this production (which isn't saying much) is given by veteran character actor John McGiver as the corrupt mayor of Chicago (or is that phrase redundant?). McGiver is grossly miscast here. It's always a pleasure to see McGiver at work, but this is not one of his better performances.

I can't recommend this version of 'The Front Page' for any reason, especially as so many far superior versions are available on video. Even Billy Wilder's remake of 'The Front Page' (starring Lemmon and Matthau, much too late in their careers for these roles) is funnier than this tv version. I'll rate the 1970 'Front Page' one point out of 10. Skip this version and watch 'Gaily Gaily': it's hilarious, and it gives a much more accurate depiction of Chicago journalism.

7 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page