A young man in love with a girl from a rich family finds his unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.
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
During the 1930s, Howard Hawks was hosting a dinner party when the topic of dialogue was brought up. He pulled out a copy of "The Front Page" to demonstrate the snappy exchanges between characters, taking the role of Burns. A female guest took the role of Hildy. While reading, Hawks realized the dialogue sounded much better with a woman reading, and quickly secured the rights for the film from Howard Hughes. Ben Hecht (the author of "The Front Page") approved the gender change and the screenplay was put into production. See more »
When Hildy is in the office at the beginning of the movie her cigarette hand switches from pointing up to relaxing on her leg. See more »
[Joe brings a reprieve for Earl Williams from the governor]
Fred, the Mayor:
Who else was there when he gave you this?
Nobody. He was out fishing.
Fred, the Mayor:
[to Sheriff Hartwell]
Get the Governor on the phone.
No, he's not there. He's out duck shooting.
Fred, the Mayor:
The blasted nimrod... fishing, duck shooting! A guy who's done nothing for the last forty years but play pinochle gets elected governor and right away he thinks he's a Tarzan!
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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.
Another version of "The Front Page" starring Grant and Russell
Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell make great sparring partners in "His Girl Friday," a remake of "The Front Page." Grant plays the conniving newspaper publisher Walter Johnson, and Rosalind Russell is the reporter Hildy Johnson, a woman this time, and Johnson's ex-wife. She's trying to get remarried, move to Albany, and quit the newspaper business, but Walter can't bear it. He cons her into helping out with a controversial death row case and then makes sure her fiancée (Ralph Bellamy) suffers a series of mishaps - arrest for stealing a watch, arrest for "mashing," arrest for counterfeiting, and the theft of his wallet. This all happens while Hildy interviews Earl Williams, a man due to be hung the next day... and then hides him in a roll-top desk in the courthouse press room when he escapes during a psychiatric evaluation.
It's madcap, all right, and there are no two better people to carry it off than Grant and Russell, who make a great team. It's a hilarious story, with the most rapid-fire, non-stop dialog ever heard anywhere, often with several conversations going on at once. It's exhausting trying to keep up with it.
Strangely, without computers and cell phones, the story of journalists working on a story holds up because the emotions and activities are realistic and still go on. It's as Hildy describes - no set schedule, no normal meals, and long hours. Nothing much has changed.
This is a frenetic comedy, and while the impending hanging of Earl Williams is certainly serious, this plot is more of an excuse to observe the machinations of Hildy and Walter - it's a subplot, though it drives the main story.
"The Front Page" is a favorite of Hollywood's, remade many times - three versions under its original title, a TV series, two TV productions, plus the film "Switching Channels." And of course, "His Girl Friday," possibly the best of all of them.
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