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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 7.14%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 8 user ratings

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His Girl Friday
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Natasha Theobald

"Banters with the best of them!"
5 stars

When they talk about not making movies like they used to, this would be a prime example. The dialogue is so crisp and the comic performances are so able that one can't help but marvel at the well-crafted whole. I have never set out to see the films of favored directors like Howard Hawks, but seeing this may well change my mind. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell - comedy, drama, suspense, romance.... There is nothing more a person could dare desire from a day at the movies.

Based on "The Front Page," the film starts with Hildy's (Rosalind Russell) announcement to Walter (Cary Grant) that, having lost her as a wife already, he is soon to lose her as a reporter. She is engaged to marry an insurance man (Ralph Bellamy) and dreams of life as a real person, away from the game of gathering the news. It is immediately apparent, though, that the business between them is unfinished, and Walter is willing to do anything to keep Hildy in town long enough to convince her to stay at the paper, and with him, for good.

With this in mind, Walter puts Hildy on a story he knows she will not refuse, that of a man whose death sentence has more to do with politics than with his guilt. She deigns to talk with the accused, as well as with the last doctor being brought in to declare him sane enough to be hung the next morning. Already caught up, she is unable to leave when the man escapes and is on the loose in the city. Her taste of the life she has always known may be enough for her to decide that settling is exactly what she is doing. She may decide that she wants a life and love with something more to offer.

Grant and Russell are brilliant with the fast-paced and witty repartee. Their tongues wag and their eyes snap with a passion and storminess that is mesmerizing. The laughs are hearty and well-earned - better than holding up, they hold their own and then some. Laughs, too, are found beyond the dialogue. For example, Cary Grant gives Bellamy's 'Bruce' a comical, smoldering look that reminds you why he was and is a star. The combined charisma of the players in this game, even to the supporting roles, for example, of the reporters joking around in the newsroom, is overwhelming.

Like the best movies, too, the comedy is made complete with moments of real life-type tension and drama. The case of the accused man is not merely a device for the continuance of the story. The political satire is pointed, and the suspense is palpable. Too, the bang of the gallows trap-door being tested cuts through and finds its target, the hearts and minds of the audience. The laughter is suspended when more serious subjects are at hand.

Hearing Cary Grant's Walter ask Hildy, when she remarks that it seems like she had seen him just yesterday, "Been seeing me in your dreams?" was a highlight of my day. He absolutely sparkles, and I am glad film provides the immortality necessary for me to be able to witness it.

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originally posted: 01/05/04 12:37:38
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User Comments

5/12/11 Quigley An ungodly annoying movie; one of the few to give me a headache. Great cast, though. 2 stars
1/28/08 proper amateur film critic Hilarious black farce, one of the best examples of its kind in film history 5 stars
1/27/08 Pamela White very funny witty and antics cute 5 stars
3/18/07 MP Bartley Fast talking brilliance 5 stars
5/13/04 T. DeCoster Sharp and Quick. Looney Tunes is Jealous 5 stars
2/11/03 R.W. Welch Pace is a shade too frenetic, but still a good watch. 4 stars
1/29/03 Charles Tatum Classic screwball, Russell is beautiful and funny 5 stars
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  11-Jan-1940 (NR)



Directed by
  Howard Hawks

Written by
  Charles Lederer

  Cary Grant
  Rosalind Russell
  Ralph Bellamy
  Gene Lockhart
  Porter Hall
  Helen Mack

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