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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 »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

Photos

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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.

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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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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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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
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

The last line of the play had to be partly obliterated by the sound of a typewriter being accidentally struck because the censors (even of that day) wouldn't allow the phrase "son-of-a-bitch" to be used in a film. 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 The Kids in the Hall: Episode #1.3 (1989) 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

 
Ignore Camera Obscura's criticism!
2 July 2008 | by RHammann42See all my reviews

The remarks by Camera Obscura do an injustice to this film and reveal a true absence of aesthetics governing the writer's appreciation for camera technique, acting, directing and pace. While I am an enormous fan of the subsequent remake, "His Girl Friday," by Howard Hawks, Lewis Milestone's direction of the original is invigorating and sets a pace that Hawks had to match before he began to trump it with his own use of crackling overlapping dialog. Way ahead of its time, the camera explores the set, and Milestone and his editor know how to use editing to create pace. This is not merely a filmed play. It is faithful to the play and excellently exploits the camera's ability to go to closeups, long shots, etc. The acting, particularly by Adolphe Menjou, is as good as in any version. I am also distressed by the comments of Eye 3 who agrees with Obscura that the dialog is shouted in order to be picked up by the microphones! The actors are shouting because their characters are excited - the rapid fire dialog coupled with shouting is an element of farce and is beautifully done, and in the televised version I just watched on TCM, entirely understandable! I do wish someone would restore this early gem to a print with a cleaned up picture and sound, but given its age, it is a remarkable treasure of early sound cinema.


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