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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

In 2010, The Front Page (1931) was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry. 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 Boardwalk Empire: Golden Days for Boys and Girls (2014) 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

 
Way ahead of its time
3 September 2005 | by km_dicksonSee all my reviews

Way ahead of its time in both style and substance. The Front Page is a comic look at the underbelly of the newspaper business as well as a tough commentary on the times. In a press room outside the city jail, a group of newspaper reporters idly await the execution of a communist sympathizer accused of murder. Once the story heats up though, the press room becomes an absolute madhouse. The hilariously cynical script adapted from the play by Ben Hecht pulls no punches. Politics, the justice system, communist hysteria, love and marriage are all targets for the biting wit of the author. The script is complemented by a good ensemble cast. Pat O'Brien gives a good performance as Hildy Johnson, the star reporter for The Post, who is leaving his job for marriage. Adolphe Menjou steals the show, however, as Walter Burns, the conniving editor who will do anything to keep Johnson on the job. The rest of the news hounds are all expertly played, striking us as fun loving jokers one minute, but becoming downright violent the moment they smell a story. The movie also has a rare artistic style unequaled in most films. Though most of the movie takes place in the same location, the cinematography is done so well that we never feel we are watching a stage play. The cameras constantly move around the room, effectively putting us in the middle of the action. Pretty much everything about this film is done well. It is funny, edgy, artistic and thought provoking. Movies that can do all of that are few and far in between.


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