6.7/10
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The Front Page (1931)

TV-PG | | Comedy | 4 April 1931 (USA)
An investigative reporter sees an opportunity for the story of a lifetime when an accused murderer escapes hanging.

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

Ben Hecht (by), Charles MacArthur (by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adolphe Menjou ... Walter Burns
Pat O'Brien ... Hildy Johnson
Mary Brian ... Peggy Grant
Edward Everett Horton ... Roy B. Bensinger
Walter Catlett ... Murphy (as Walter L. Catlett)
George E. Stone ... Earl Williams
Mae Clarke ... Molly Molloy
Slim Summerville ... Irving Pincus
Matt Moore ... Kruger
Frank McHugh ... McCue
Clarence Wilson ... Sheriff Hartman (as Clarence H. Wilson)
Fred Howard Fred Howard ... Schwartz (as Freddie Howard)
Phil Tead ... Wilson
Eugene Strong Eugene Strong ... Endicott (as Gene Strong)
Spencer Charters ... Woodenshoes
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Photos

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Storyline

Hildy Johnson, newspaper reporter, is engaged to Peggy Grant and planning to move to New York for a higher paying advertising job. The court press room is full of lame reporters who invent stories as much as write them. All are waiting to cover the hanging of Earl Williams. When Williams escapes from the inept Sheriff, Hildy seizes the opportunity by using his $260 honeymoon money to payoff an insider and get the scoop on the escape. However, Walter Burns, the Post's editor, is slow to repay Hildy back, hoping that he will stay on the story. Getting a major scoop looks possible when Hildy stumbles onto the bewildered escapee and hides him in a roll-top desk in the press room. Burns shows up to help. Can they keep Williams' whereabouts secret long enough to get the scoop, especially with the Sheriff and other reporters hovering around? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Picture That Has Cracked This Shock-Proof Town Wide Open! (Print Ad- Albany Evening News, ((Albany NY)) 8 June 1931)

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Continuing a practice common to the silent era, the film was shot with three cameras at the same time. This created three different negatives. The best negative was used for the US version. The second best was used for the UK version. And the final negative was used for the general international version. Additionally, some scenes were re-shot with different dialogue for the international markets. See more »

Goofs

The visor Murphy's wearing changes between camera angles from level to cocked at a steep angle. Making it obvious some scenes were either shot out of order. Or had to be redone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title card: This story is laid in a Mythical Kingdom.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits consist of Walter and Hildy above a big 'THE END,' covering a large question mark, while the sound of the train is heard and music plays. There is also laughter, presumably coming from Walter Burns. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Man Hunt (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

By the Light of the Silvery Moon
(1909) (uncredited)
Music by Gus Edwards
Played on banjo early in the film
See more »

User Reviews

 
Dated but enjoyable first rendition based on the famous play from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
22 May 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is the classic rendition filmed in 1931 titled ¨The Front Page¨ by Lewis Milestone with big cast as Adolph Menjou , Edward Everett Horton , Mae Clark and Pat O'Brien in his film debut . Acceptable version about known story in which a reporter wants to marry a beautiful woman but his mean editor impedes it . Rip-roaring vintage newspaper comedy ¨The Front Page¨ and subsequently , 1940 , the best retelling titled ¨His girl friend¨ and acceptable acting from everyone . Cynical editor named Walter Burns (Louis Wolheim was originally cast to play him , but Adolphe Menjou got the part when Wolheim died suddenly , this character was based on a famed editor) wants to get a big scoop on an execution which involves convincing star reporter Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien , whose role was based on the real-life a notorious reporter) to come back to work and put off her marriage to handsome millionaire Peggy Grant (Mary Brian) . Walter tries to keep him in town and break up her upcoming marriage takes place against the backdrop of a botched death row . Hildy can't resist covering some good news , even when it mean helping a condemned man getaway the law as she attempts to help an innocent man is about to be executed . And the escaped convicted murderer offers the journalist an exclusive interview . Other reporters also give hilarious acting in this breathless pursuit of an exclusive with the escaped death row inmate .

Great cast gives powerful performances as Adolphe Menjou as a scheming publisher and Pat O'Brien as a convincing as well as incautious journalist . Agreeable play and screenplay from Ben Hecht , Charles MacArthur about a cunning managing editor of a known newspaper and his ambitious reporter . The journalists are all based on actual reporters who were Chicago colleagues of authors Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, with most working alongside them at the courthouse ; the real names were only slightly changed . Bartlett Cormack Charles Lederer's brilliantly tart dialogue overlaps story to carry the black farce along the roller-coasted speed . Attractive performance from Pat O'Brien as ace journalist who wants to quit the business and get married and likable Adolphe Menjou as an editor who finds out his main reporter wants to leave him and gets in the way . Inventive and furious screen combats in which Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien are given equal footing with staccato dialog and sparkling interpretations . Phenomenal playing from everyone , including a top-notch secondary cast such as Edward Everett Horton , George Stone , Mae Clarke , Slim Summerville and Matt Moore . Mediocre cinematography by cinematographer Hal Mohr who replaced Tony Gaudio , being necessary an alright remastering because of film copy is worn-out and suffers the public domain . Professional direction by Lewis Milestone render more funny than usual , and achieved success enough . Rating : 6,5 . Worthwhile watching .

Other versions about this this frequent-told story are the followings : The play "The Front Page" opened at the Times Square Theater on August 14, 1929, and ran for 276 performances . As Osgood Perkins , Anthony Perkins's father , created the role of Walter Burns on the Broadway stage . And "Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on June 22, 1946 with Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien reprising their film roles . In cinema a classic adaptation titled ¨His Girl Friday ¨ 1940 , it makes some memorable exchanges , directed by Howard Hawks with Gary Grant , Ralph Bellamy and Rosalind Russell with the pivotal character assigned to a woman instead a man ; and do't miss this stunning adaptation ¨The front page¨ by the great Billy Wilder with Jack Lemmon as journalist , Walter Matthaw as managing editor and Carol Burnett . And 1988 new recounting , a modernized fourth remake titled ¨Switching Channels¨ in which an attractive TV anchorwoman want to marry tycoon but his mean ex-husband impedes it , starred by Burt Reynolds , Kathleen Turner , and Christopher Reeve , being directed by Ted Kotcheff .


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 April 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Front Page See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,526,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Caddo Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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