His Girl Friday
She learned about men from him!
Hildy Johnson has divorced Walter Burns and visits his office to tell him that she is engaged to another man and that they are going to get married the day after. Walter Burns can't let that happen and frames the other man, Bruce Baldwin, for a lot of stuff getting him into trouble all the time, while he tries to steer Hildy back into her old job as his employee (editor of his newspaper).
His Girl Friday combines all of my favorite movie things like it was made just for me:
• Ex-lover drama
• Strong female character
• Biting satire
• Witty dialogue
• Lovable and multi-dimensional minor characters
• Emotional honesty
Absolute perfection. His Girl Friday has charm and happiness coming out of its eyeballs and I want to watch it every day for the rest of my life. Unfortunately that isn't possible because my watchlist has almost 300 films on it. A girl can dream...
Thanks for recommending this to me on my classics recommendations list Antonomasia, JW Hendricks, Lise, and Noetic Hatter!
It doesn't get much better than this. The snappy dialogue is funny, smart and quick. And I mean quick. It makes The Social Network look taciturn.
Cary Grant is at his best as news editor Walter Burns who wants his ex-wife and former journalist back. Rosalind Russell is pure perfection as Hildy Johnson who wants nothing to do with her ex or the newspaper business. She wants to go live in Albany and have children with her new fiance. Walter will stop at nothing to prevent Hildy from leaving. He will be cunning, sly and play dirty if it is required.
The film also serves as a critique of the newspaper industry, showing newspaper men misquoting and outright inventing stories…
I will say this: I am pretty sure that Rosalind Russell's Hildy Johnson is why I love Lois Lane. Lois was invented before this portrayal, but every version of Lois after it wants to be Hildy Johnson chasing a source down the street -- and taking him down with a flying tackle to the legs. (Well, apart from the airheaded 50's "Superman's Girlfriend" Lois who kept dreaming about marrying Superman -- but even then we got Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill.)
Also, any film that portrays newspapermen as conniving, backstabbing, lying cheats and still sends you off wanting to be one of them has got to be doing something right.
Magic. Pure magic.
"Incidentally you will see in this picture no resemblance to the men and women of the press today."
A charismatic, young Cary Grant coupled with a woman who could absolutely hold her own in Rosalind Russell, all wrapped up in a media satire with enough wit to fill five movies. Needless to say, I was entranced from the outset.
And… then the plot began to assert itself and I was left feeling slightly disappointed overall, at least in comparison to the rapturous start.
The major issue is that the movie doesn't seem to know what it has in its star pairing. Outside of the first and last 20 minutes, it exclusively keeps Russell and Grant in separate scenes and even…
I HAVE FOUND MY HAPPY SPACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*exhales and twirls and somersaults off into the sunset*
Going into finally seeing this classic screwball comedy for the first time ever, I knew I was in for fast-paced dialogue and endlessly fresh verbal wit. The film certainly didn't disappoint on those fronts. Rarely have I seen a movie so brilliantly demonstrate the possibility of dialogue as pedal-to-the-metal action; I'm still reeling from having all that overlapping dialogue blast into my face for such a sustained period of screen time, especially in its second half!
I hadn't, however, expected its cynicism to be so wounding. This is hardly a sentimental glorification of journalism as a noble line of work where the rewards are worth the personal risks (basically, it's everything Ron Howard's 1994 The Paper was not). If anything,…
I'm astounded it has taken me this long to see this absolutely marvelous film. A rapid-fire comedy romance centered on two delightful performances. It is hilarious, witty, slickly romantic, and has a subtle visual style that gives the stagey script a cinematic feeling. This is a total knockout.
Pretty sure I missed at least half of the jokes. Pretty sure I don't care. 100% sure I spent the whole film smiling like a giddy goof. (Though I am glad Ralph Bellamy got a chance to read Hildy the riot act, as his gee-whiz hayseed act in the first half of the film, especially at lunch, was the only slightly not-great thing about this.) (Oh, Hildy.)
& God bless the shameless insincerity of that introductory disclaimer.
Hildy! Don't be hasty! Remember my dimple!
His Girl Friday was directed by Howard Hawks and it was first released in 1940. The film stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russel in the lead roles. The two of them had great chemistry together. Much like another Hawks/Grant film, Bringing Up Baby, this film is referred to as a 'screwball comedy'. His Girl Friday is much less humorous than Bringing Up Baby, not delivering the laugh out loud gags as frequently. This isn't such a bad thing though. This film is driven by its story rather than its humor and it is pretty effective in that way. His Girl Friday isn't as enjoyable as Bringing Up Baby, but it is still a very good film. 8/10
Why they bothered inventing 3D when Hawks's mise en scene existed is a mystery to me.
Very rarely has a comedy looked this good (Hawks's own Only Angels Have Wings and Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove come to mind), and the depth of what's behind Grant and Russell in every scene is only matched by the deft movement of the dialogue in their mouths.
This film is packed with enough dialogue for a film twice it's length. A masterclass in fast talking and comedy without a single wink to the audience. Blink, and you'll miss some great zingers. It's not only lighting-fast dialogue, but lighting-fast dialogue in takes of like five minutes. Hawks sets up his camera and lets his actors sail. No director can do that today. No director today trusts his/her actors or audience enough to give a whole scene in one shot. And no actors today could talk as fast as Grant and Russell and still make every word crystal.
Cary Grant is a boss.
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. - IMDB
No doubt the first thing that I need to mention is the whirlwind of dialogue that is pelted towards your ears for the entire duration of the film. It doesn't stop. It's like you're getting beat down and as the scene changes and you're getting off the canvas, they beat you down some more.
You'd almost need a re-watch to catch some of the gags that fall off the conveyor belt of talkie. Just as one falls and you're picking it up, a bunch more fly right past you. When you catch up, you realise you're still watching this highly enjoyable classic of 1940.
I thought that Rosalind Russell was brilliant. Cary Grant was good but Rosalind brought something special to the role and even without the cast of followers, she could have held this on her own.
Two words: Cary Grant. Two more: Rosalind Russell.