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The Front Page (1974)

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Ben Hecht (play), Charles MacArthur (play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Hildy Johnson
Walter Matthau ... Walter Burns
Susan Sarandon ... Peggy Grant
Vincent Gardenia ... Sheriff
David Wayne ... Bensinger
Allen Garfield ... Kruger
Austin Pendleton ... Earl Williams
Charles Durning ... Murphy
Herb Edelman ... Schwartz (as Herbert Edelman)
Martin Gabel ... Dr. Eggelhofer
Harold Gould ... The Mayor
Cliff Osmond ... Jacobi
Dick O'Neill ... McHugh
Jon Korkes ... Rudy Keppler
Lou Frizzell Lou Frizzell ... Endicott
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Storyline

When Hildy Johnson, the top reporter of a Chicago newspaper announces that he is quitting to get married, his editor, Walter Burns desperately tries to change his mind. When denial, cursing, and luring don't work, Walter resorts to tricks. It's the day before a supposed communist is to be hanged, and all Chicago waits with baited breath. Meanwhile, each of the papers has a man on the story trying to get a scoop or angle for themselves. With a train to catch at midnight to join his fiancé, Hildy is at first not interested, but events and his own habits work against him as the day unfolds, and he can't help but get roped in, especially when the man to be executed escapes and then almost literally falls into his lap. Written by RCBP_Collection

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's the hottest story since the Chicago Fire... And they're sitting on it. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Extrablatt See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$17,300,000, 15 December 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the movie was filmed on a Hollywood sound stage, the Balaban and Katz theater at 190 North State Street in the Chicago Loop where Arthur Burns attempts to derail Hildy's marriage plans by trying to convince his fiancee that he was a convicted sex offender who could not leave Chicago really did exist. Following an antitrust ruling in the late 1940's that required Paramount Pictures to divest Balaban and Katz, which owned its theater chain, the theater closed and B&K put Chicago's first commercial television station, WBBM-TV, on the air from that site. After CBS purchased WBBM in 1953 and moved its studios to 630 North McClurg Court - directly across the street from the first headquarters of Playboy Magazine - Balaban and Katz acquired a second station - WBKB-TV (now known as WLS-TV) - which it eventually sold to ABC. The old theater location is now the home for WLS-TV, ESPN radio affiliate WMVP and ABC's Midwest radio and TV bureau. Ironically, in 2008 WBBM moved back into the Loop at 22 West Washington Street, about a block-and-a-half from its original location. See more »

Goofs

When the blinds are pulled they are inside the window, after Earl crashes through the window the blinds are on the outside of the window. See more »

Quotes

Hildebrand 'Hildy' Johnson: Goodbye, Duffy. Watch the diabetes. Walter, it's been fun.
Duffy: What's he mean by that?
Walter Burns: He's leaving us. Getting married.
Duffy: Yeah? That hostess at the Hotsy-Totsy Club?
Hildebrand 'Hildy' Johnson: You're not even close. Why, this is a very classy dame. Philadephia. Studied to be a concert pianist.
Walter Burns: Where in the hell would you meet a concert pianist?
Hildebrand 'Hildy' Johnson: Well, actually, she's a widow. Husband cracked up in a brand-new Packard. Only had 18 miles on it. So, to support herself, she's playing the organ at the Balaban & Katz Theater.
Walter Burns: The ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
(uncredited)
Written by Wallis Willis
Sung by unknown performer in gaol cell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great cast gives powerful performances as Matthau as scheming managing editor and Lemmon as convincing star journalist
16 January 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Rip-roaring third remake of the classic newspaper comedy ¨The Front Page¨ makes some memorable exchanges and sensational acting from everyone . Cynical editor newspaper (Walter Matthau) wants to get a big scoop on a death row which involves convincing star reporter (Jack Lemmon) to come back to work and put off her marriage to handsome pianist woman (Susan Sarandon) . Lemmon can't resist covering some good news , even when it mean helping a condemned man (Austin Pendleton) getaway the law . And the escaped convicted murderer offers the journalist an exclusive interview . Other reporters (Dick O'Neill, Charles Durning, Allen Garfield , David Wayne , Cliff Osmond) also give hilarious acting in this breathless pursuit of an exclusive with the escaped death row inmate .

A splendid remake of the Ben Hecht , Charles MacArthur play about a scheming managing publisher of a 1920s Chicago newspaper and his incautious reporter. Very good performance from Jack Lemmon as ace journalist who wants to quit the business and get married and exceptional Walter Matthau as editor who finds out his main reporter wants to leave him and gets in the way . Phenomenal playing from everyone , including a top-notch secondary cast as Carol Burnett , Vincent Gardenia , Harold Gould and magnificent direction render this frequent-told story more funny than usual . One of Wilder's most inventive and furious screen combats in which Lemmon and Matthau are given equal footing with staccato dialog and marvelous interpretations . I.A.L. Diamond's brilliantly tart screenplay overlaps dialogue and scenes to carry the black farce along the roller-coasted speed . Certainly the kind of movie that Billy Wilder only can make , though achieved moderated success in 1974 . Meanwhile , do't miss this stunning adaptation.

Other versions about this classic story are the following : 1931 ¨The Front Page¨ by Lewis Milestone with Adolph Menjou , Edward Everett Horton , Mae Clark and Pat O'Brien in his film debut ; ¨His Girl Friday ¨ 1940 by Howard Hawks with Gary Grant , Ralph Bellamy and Rosalind Russell with the pivotal character assigned to a woman instead a man ; ¨Switching channels¨ 1988 by Ted Kotcheff with Kathleen Turner , Christopher Reeve , Ned Beatty and Burt Reynolds in which an attractive TV anchorwoman want to marry tycoon but his mean ex-husband impedes it .


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