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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 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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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

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 April 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Primeira Página See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,526,000, 31 December 1931
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Caddo Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is an interesting film to view in the so-called era of "fake news" as many of the reporters are clearly making up stories as they go along. Both Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur had been journalists so one can only assume that there is an element of truth to this depiction of reporters. See more »

Goofs

At approximately 69 minutes, Hildy types furiously at a typewriter, however, with his right hand he only uses his index finger and pushes the same key over and over again. 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

Version of The Front Page (1970) 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 »

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User Reviews

 
Very good
23 July 2007 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Newspaperman Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien) is quitting the business and getting married to Peggy (Mary Brian). But his unscrupulous boss Walter Burns(Adolphe Menjou) doesn't want him to quit. Also an innocent man is about to be hanged and Burns will do anything to make sure Johnson works on that story.

Fast and funny--the first cinematic version of this story. It shows its age at times and some of it is wildly overacted but O'Brien and Menjou are both just great in their roles. Also director Lewis Milestone uses some very unusual camera tricks to keep the story moving and there's lots of action and running around which is unusual for an early talkie.

This was remade in 1940 with a sex change making Johnson a woman. That was "His Girl Friday" with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. That one is better than this but this is better than the 1974 version (that had Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) and 1988 remake called "Switching Channels" (with Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds). They're all good to varying degrees but this one came first. Worth seeing.


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