7.3/10
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54 user 45 critic

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

Playwrights Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur based Earl Williams' escape on a jailbreak that actually took place in Chicago in December of 1921. Four days before he was scheduled to hang for the murder of a childhood friend he attempted to silence who could implicate him in another killing, "Terrible Tommy" O'Connor broke out of the Cook County Jail, which at the time was located just north of the Loop at Clark and Dearborn Streets in the city's River North neighborhood. O'Connor was never recaptured or heard from again, although a cemetery in suburban Worth, Illinois has a headstone with his name on it dated 1951. Despite that, a court order was issued required the city to keep the gallows he was to have been executed on. Despite the fact that Illinois had switched to electrocution as a means of execution in 1928 and lethal injection in 1990, O'Connor's execution order still technically remains in effect. Illinois completely abolished the death penalty in 2011. See more »

Goofs

Before Walter first meets Peggy at the movie theater, he tears a star off an old movie poster for "All Quiet On the Western Front" (1930), though this movie is set in 1929. See more »

Quotes

'Honest Pete' Hartman Sheriff of Clark County: Sorry to break in, Sheriff, but we've located Williams. This time, for real.
'Honest Pete' Hartman Sheriff of Clark County: Where?
Officer Jacobi: On North Wabash, at the offices of the Friends of American Liberty. One of our patrols spotted him in the alley.
'Honest Pete' Hartman Sheriff of Clark County: All right. Get every available man. Seal off the whole area. But remember, God damn it, I want him taken alive!
Officer Jacobi: Check.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Front Page (1945) 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

 
The Unseen Power of the Press
31 December 2010 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

On 06 June 1929, in Chicago, the press is covering from the tribunal press room, the hanging of the anarchist Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton) that accidentally killed a cop and will happen on the next day. Hildy Johnson (Jack Lemmon), who is the best newspaperman of the Chicago Examiner, tells his boss Walter Burns (Walter Matthau) that he will marry the widow concert pianist Peggy Grant (Susan Sarandon) on the next day and quits his job, telling that he will move to Philadelphia and work in advertisement business. Walter unsuccessfully tries to use a scheme to force Hildy to stay in the Examiner and cover the execution on the gallows. Meanwhile, the corrupt Sheriff "Honest" Pete Hartman (Vincent Gardenia) interrogates Earl with the psychologist Dr. Eggelhofer (Martin Gabel) for the last check whether the prisoner is sane or not and the doctor proposes a simulation of the murder, but Earl shots Dr. Eggelhofer with the sheriff's revolver on the groin and escapes. Meanwhile, the governor's representative Plunkett (Paul Benedict) comes with a retreat on Earl, but the dirty Mayor (Harold Gould) and the Sheriff do not acknowledge the receipt of the document and send Plunkett to a brothel. When Hildy finds Earl hidden in the press room, his sense of journalist prevails and he calls Walter to protect Earl together with the unseen power of the press.

"The Front Page" is a witty comedy by Billy Wilder in one of his last works. I have never had the chance to see the original 1931 film, but this cynical remake is great, with top-notch performances of Walter Matthau in the role of a Machiavellian editor that has no ethics and presses his top journalist to stay in his newspaper. Jack Lemmon and Vincent Gardenia have also excellent performances. The ironic conclusion with the fate of each character is hilarious. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Primeira Página" ("The Front Page")


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