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
Rosalind Russell thought, while shooting, that she didn't have as many good lines as Cary Grant had, so she hired an advertisement writer through her brother-in-law and had him write more clever lines for the dialog. Since Howard Hawks allowed for spontaneity and ad-libbing, he, and many of the cast and crew didn't notice it, but Grant knew she was up to something, leading him to greet her every morning: "What have you got today?" See more »
During the lunch scene, at one point there is a fly very clearly walking all over the front of Cary Grant's suit. See more »
Apparently Howard Hawks must've assumed that Cary Grant could carry off even the most abrasive of lead roles. Sure, Grant specialized in snappy banter with a caustic touch, but it was usually balanced with self-deprication and an unrealistic modesty. Unfortunately, none of that humanity is present here, just endless, overlapping sniping, arguing and scheming, at ninety miles a minute. How anyone can muster any sympathy for Grant's character is beyond me.
The crossfire dialogue is occasionally relieved by stretches of tedium. Rosalind Russell is charming and bright, and Ralph Bellamy does the best he can with what he's given. While there may be occasional touches of wit and good characterizations from the actors, His Girl Friday is one of the most irritating of Howard Hawks' films.
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