A Fifteen-Year-Old Girl Who Shot Herself At A Gun Place Movie Review – His Girl Friday (1940)

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Movie Review – His Girl Friday (1940)

Directed by Howard Hawks, Charles Lederer’s acclaimed romantic comedy classic based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s stage play “Front Page.”

Three immediate observations about this famous film:

1) It’s certainly still an entertaining movie. Even though his girl Friday was shot 66 years ago, I laughed out loud at many scenes! That speaks volumes for the staying power of this wild comedy classic.

2) In terms of words per minute, this is probably one of the longest movies ever made. Talk about “talking people”! Cary Grant (as manipulative and exploitative newspaper editor Walter Burns) and Rosalind Russell (as brilliant and ambitious reporter Hildegard ‘Hildey’ Johnson), and all Other characters, all competing with each other to deliver comebacks, jokes and sarcastic comments at the speed of a red-hot machine gun while delivering truckloads of sharp objects. The words poured out of all of them in a dizzying torrent of gibberish. One wonders how many pounds the cast had to lose collectively after this was done.

His “Girls Friday” definitely represents the ultimate antithesis of the taboo against “telling and not letting go” in modern cinema. It doesn’t have a scene that doesn’t get deep into the exposition business.

3) From a director’s point of view, this is one of the surprisingly uneven films I’ve seen in a long time. It begins with Grant and Russell’s interactions, and expands into an uncomfortable triangle formed by the two and Hildy Johnson’s fiancé insurer Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy).

Then, without any forewarning, the scene shifts to the press room and a group of antique old reporters, playing poker and smoking cigars, reporting on a death row inmate who will be hanged the next day in New York. story. The square directly below their windows. Hildy is at the center of this lengthy “second act,” during which the Cary Grant character is completely absent.

If you’re watching his Girl Friday as a “Cary Grant movie,” which we must, you’ll be sorely disappointed by this mid-sequence, which lasts nearly half an hour, during which we all but forget about Walter Burns.

When Walter returns in the third act, he’s his big mouth, trying to get the story in his paper first, while forcing the corrupt sheriff and mayor to back down on his threat of incarceration.

The plot itself is not that complicated. Walter Burns (Grant) is the editor-in-chief of an ambitious and unscrupulous Chicago newspaper, for whom it is more important to “get ahead” and beat the other papers than to tell the truth. He’s a sly but charming and street-savvy operator who’s trying to win back his ex-wife and A-list newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson (Russell).

Walter knows that deep down in her heart Hildy has as little interest in life as she does journalism and chasing down scoops, and Walter exploits her vulnerability to win her heart back while pretending he’s quit Her new life with Baldwin.

In the end, Hildy manages to hide the fugitive (who claims to be innocent but mistakenly killed a police officer) inside a roll-up table in the press room, where she gets an exclusive from Walter’s newspaper, giving her All the male colleagues are beyond the reach.

This neurotic comedy is filled with witty and funny exchanges, as seen below:

Hildy: I ​​can, I can, I like it, and more importantly. Besides, he forgets about the office when he’s with me…and he doesn’t think of me as an errand runner, Walter. He treats me like a woman.

Walter: He knows, doesn’t he? Why did I take you for a buffalo?

###

Hildy: I ​​was in Reno for six weeks, and then Bermuda, oh, I guess about four months. It feels like yesterday to me.

Walter: Maybe yesterday, Hildy. Have you seen me in your dreams?

###

Hilty: Listen to me, you big idiot!

###

Bruce Baldwin (on Walter): He was charming.

Hildy: Yes, it’s only natural; his grandfather was a snake!

###

Walter: Let us see this paragon of virtue! Is he as good as you say?

Hildy: Why, he’s better!

Walter: So, what does he want you to do?

Hildy: Aha, you got me!

###

A lovely film in which both Grant and Russell prove they have the manic energy and fluid skill to deliver complex lines effortlessly without sacrificing the comic detail stuffed into each scene . Two rogues who know each other better than anyone in life – and a well-meaning insurance salesman who looks like a baby in the woods next to two major carriers.

Needless to say, it was also an eye-opening testimony to the way newspapers were run in the ’40s. We are all lucky that journalism, for all its faults, has much higher ethical standards today.

8 out of 10.

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