His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday-1940 
by guest writer

Although a remake after Lewis Milestone’s film The Front Page, from 1931, His Girl Friday (1940) stands out as the best of the two. Howard Hawks is the ‘forgotten’ Hollywood director responsible for the outcome. He was an outstanding film-maker of Hollywood’s Golden Age, starting in silent films in the 20’s and working his way to a 47 films career. You can feel that the movie was adapted from a theatre play, written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. The most glorious characters are Walter Burns (Cary Grant) and Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell).

Hildy has just divorced from Managing Editor Walter Burns and is threatening to take the night train to Albany, to wed Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Walter stops at nothing to keep Hildy near him, focusing her attention on a story about a convict’s escape. Torn between his love for Hildy and his profession, Burns becomes one of those slapstick comedy heroes who’s willing to throw anything at you whatever the cost. The construction of the comedy is one typical for this genre and the intelligent lines keep coming until the end scene. Howard Hawks’ idea of pairing Cary with Rosalind Russell played up well, their chemistry for the film becoming the benchmark of classic Hollywood couples. His Girl Friday is and will remain the maddest newspaper comedy of all times.

photo: still from the film | Columbia Pictures

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