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His Girl Friday (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 18 January 1940 (USA)
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A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Charles Lederer (screen play), Ben Hecht (from the play "The Front Page") | 1 more credit »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cary Grant ... Walter Burns
Rosalind Russell ... Hildy Johnson
Ralph Bellamy ... Bruce Baldwin
Gene Lockhart ... Sheriff Hartwell
Porter Hall ... Murphy
Ernest Truex ... Bensinger
Cliff Edwards ... Endicott
Clarence Kolb ... Mayor
Roscoe Karns ... McCue
Frank Jenks ... Wilson
Regis Toomey ... Sanders
Abner Biberman ... Louie
Frank Orth ... Duffy
John Qualen ... Earl Williams
Helen Mack ... Mollie Malloy
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Storyline

Having been away for four months, Hildy Johnson walks into the offices of the New York City based The Morning Post, where she is a star reporter, to tell her boss, editor Walter Burns, that she is quitting. The reason for her absence was among other things to get a Reno divorce, from, of all people, Walter, who admits he was a bad husband. Hildy divorced Walter largely because she wanted more of a home life, whereas Walter saw her more as a driven hard-boiled reporter than subservient homemaker. Hildy has also come to tell Walter that she is taking the afternoon train to Albany, where she will be getting married tomorrow to staid straight-laced insurance agent, Bruce Baldwin, with whose mother they will live, at least for the first year. Walter doesn't want to lose Hildy, either as a reporter or a wife, and if he does, doesn't believe Bruce is worthy of her. Walter does whatever he can at least to delay Hildy and Bruce's trip, long enough to persuade Hildy to stay for good. His plan ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Year's Wildest, Wittiest Whirlwind of a Love Battle... Outrageously Racy... Sparkling... Gay! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

18 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$296,000, 31 January 1940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Broadway production of "The Front Page" (source material for the film) opened at the Times Square Theater on Wednesday, August 14th, 1929 and ran for 276 performances. See more »

Goofs

When Walter jumps up from spilling the drink in his lap, a napkin appears in his hand in the second camera shot. See more »

Quotes

Hildy Johnson: You write the interview yourself. You're still a good reporter.
Walter Burns: Oh, Hildy, you know I can't write that kind of thing. It takes a woman's touch. It needs that heart...
Hildy Johnson: Now, don't get poetic, Walter. Get Sweeney. He's the best man you've got on the paper for that sob-sister stuff.
Walter Burns: Poor Sweeney. Duffy just told me his wife finally had twins. Isn't that terrible. Well, Sweeney went out to celebrate and now we can't find him any more. So, Sweeney has twins and Earl Williams gets hanged tomorrow.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: It all happened in the "Dark Ages" of the newspaper game--when to a reporter "Getting that story" justified anything short of murder.

Incidentally you will see in this picture no resemblance to the man and woman of the press today.

Ready?

Well, once upon a time - - See more »

Connections

Featured in Notorious: The Burn Book (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Slapstick comedy that moves faster than the speed of laughter...
21 April 2000 | by TuckMNSee all my reviews

This screen adaptation of the Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur play "The Front Page" was adapted for the talents of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell -- there is no such character as Hildy Johnson (Russell) in that play.

Director Howard Hawks wanted to show the whirlwind pace of the newsroom in the criminal courts system so he had his actors overlap their lines -- so much so that at times it seems as though everyone is talking at once; it even gets difficult to understand all that is going on.

He also had the cast move FAST so the film looks totally frenetic from scene to scene with no respite -- either from the laughs or from the action.

There are two really good "inside" jokes in the script: The first is where Walter Burns (Grant) is describing Hildy's fiancee and says that "he looks like that guy in the movies -- Bellamy," Well, it WAS Ralph Bellamy playing that part!

The other is when Burns says something about someone he once knew named "Archie Leach" which just happens to be Cary Grant's real name.

This is one of the true gems of Hollywood's most prolific era. It has incredible pacing, acting, photography and an authentic gritty feeling that would be associated with hard-boiled, "anything for a story" newspaper people.

It has long been one of my favorite films and deserves to be watched over and over again -- just for all the dialogue and great acting that may have gone by so fast you missed it the first time.


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