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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

Final film of Allen Jenkins. See more »

Goofs

When Hildy enters the press room to say goodbye to his fellow reporters, he greets them with a Edward G. Robinson imitation, saying "This is a raid, see." Edward G. Robinson would not become a famous enough to imitate as a "gangster" until Little Caesar came out two years later. See more »

Quotes

Walter Burns: Get yer head back in there, you God Damned turtle!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Front Page (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

Button Up Your Overcoat
By Buddy G. DeSylva (as B.G. DeSylva), Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson
© 1928 by B.G. DeSylva, Brown & Henderson Inc.
© Renewed Assigned to Chappel & Co., Inc.
Published in U.S.A. by Chappel & Co., Inc. and Anne-Rachel Music Corp.
Performed by Susan Sarandon
See more »

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User Reviews

 
My kind of news Chicago has
18 February 2014 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

A satire on journalism seems to be the topic no filmmaker wants to touch, although I personally see the opportunity as a limitless one. With the modern era bringing forth the creation of the internet along with the concepts and ideas of information overload, misinformation, the idea that news is no long about being correct but rather being first, and the controversial and vague lines that determine whether or not websites like Reddit and Wikipedia are actually reliable sources are all things that could make a satire on modern-era journalism click on sight.

Maybe it's because I'm currently examining the journalism mediums in a high school source that I'd anxiously anticipate a satire on contemporary journalism if it were to be handled by someone delicately. For now, though, Billy Wilder's The Front Page is a fine film to hold one over. Immediately, the film is buoyed band blessed by having both Jack Lemmon and Wlater Matthau as its headlines, two fantastic actors whose work is only enhanced when they're placed in a film together. With The Front Page makes one of the earliest pairings of the two actors, almost ten years after the release of Gene Saks' The Odd Couple and about two decades before the wildly popular Grumpy Old Men films.

Set in the 1920's, Lemmon and Matthau star as Hildebrand "Hildy" Johnson and Walter Burns. Hildy is about to resign and retire from his position as ace-reporter of the Chicago Examiner but Walter, his editor, will have none of it. For years, he has trusted Hildy to write intelligent articles covering issues in the world in order to produce one of the finest papers around. But Hildy has other plans, to marry his new love (Susan Sarandon) and see the world are just a few of them. But when a checkered and incredibly juicy story comes along, Walter hopes to keep his star reporter one last time to write what may be the most outlandish story of his life.

Like most Lemmon/Matthau efforts, the real treat at hand is watching the chemistry of the leading men as they recite scripted dialog in such an elegant way that it conveys the buddy-to-buddy naturalism of a certain situation. Wilder and co-writer I.A.L. Diamond provide the men with several opportunities to put their loquaciousness to the test as the camera finds a way to fixate on them for several minutes at a time as the two bat off rapid-fire dialog at one another.

It is this chemistry that makes The Front Page a good piece of work and all the more fun, especially in the present time as it shows the functionality of old-school journalism and reporting and how journalists back in the day worked and operated. It's also hard to neglect a supporting cast made up of Carol Burnett, Susan Sarandon, and Charles Durning who, in some way, contribute to the film's overall success as a whole. And let us not forget the incredible talent of Billy Wilder, who takes one of the most cleaned-up occupations of the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression-era and turns it into complete lunacy, filled with those who go to astounding lengths to achieve a story worthy of the front page. Run and print that.

Starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Susan Sarandon, Charles Durning, and Carol Burnett. Directed by: Billy Wilder.


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