Film Society Selection
of four shows this month
'HIS GIRL FRIDAY'
book a ticket for this and forthcoming BFS screenings please contact the
SHP Box Office on 01344 484123 or click the logo below to book via the
Tickets: Mon-Thur evenings & all matinees £9.10, Conc £8.10, Members £7.50
Fri-Sun evenings £9.10, Members £7.50
BFS Members £7.10 for BFS films - you may be asked to show your membership card. Phone reservations can be held for 4 days.
Thursday 24th January 7.30pm
THIS FILM RECEIVED ONLY TWO WINS:
Howard Hawks, US,1940, 92 minutes
Cast:Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.
This immortal mix of hard-boiled newsroom drama and ebullient romantic comedy fully
exploits its stars' tangible chemistry to create one of the fastest-talking comedies ever made.
His Girl Friday (1940) is Howard Hawks' speedy and hysterically funny, modern-style screwball comedy, and one of the best examples of its kind in film history. Although it has an 92-minute running time, the breath-taking, fast-paced film has more than enough dialogue for a 3-hour movie. The film marked the beginning of a number of screwball comedies in the 1940s that emphasized the conflict for women in deciding between love/marriage and professional careers.
The original film version of His Girl Friday was director Lewis Milestone's big hit The Front Page (1931), produced by Howard Hughes and released by United Artists. [Milestone had won the Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards for the previous year's All Quiet on the Western Front (1930).] This second screen version's screenplay, again by Charles Lederer, brilliantly transformed Ben Hecht's and Charles MacArthur's newspaper classic - the George S. Kaufman-directed 1928 Broadway smash-hit play The Front Page, with a major script change.
One of the main male characters in the earlier film, Hildebrand 'Hildy' Johnson (played by Pat O'Brien), became female - renamed Hildegard Johnson (played by Rosalind Russell), to star opposite the major actor, Cary Grant. [Grant was the leading man from Hawks' two previous films: the male-dominated action film Only Angels Have Wings (1939), and the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938), and had appeared in other romantic comedies at the time (i.e., The Awful Truth (1937), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and My Favorite Wife (1940)).] Other changes in the script involved removing topical references to the 1920s, and jokes about Prohibition.
The gender swap brought an entirely new angle to the film, making it more than a satirical view and social commentary on the operation of a newsroom under the management of a hard-boiled, smart-alec managing editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant in this version, Adolphe Menjou in the earlier film), and providing an additional feminine-romance angle.
This madcap, giddy film - originally titled The Bigger They Are, is best remembered for its overlapping dialogue and simultaneous conversations, rapid-fire delivery, breakneck speed, word gags, sexual innuendo, plot twists, "in" jokes, mugging, jousting, sarcastic insults, frantic pace and farcical script. With its plot about a ruthless editor, a marriage renewed by divorce and the threat of re-marriage, a politically corrupt city, and a questionable judicial system, the romantic comedy is both a love story and a sophisticated battle of the sexes (and duel of wits).
masterpiece lacked even a single Academy Award nomination. Cary Grant's
un-nominated performance as the suave, calculating and exploitative
managing editor, who attempts to lure and maneuver his ex-wife (and
star reporter) back with the opportunity to write a breaking, front
page news-story, is a tour de force of comedy - combining cartoonish
faces, silent-film pantomime, slapstick, witty word-play, and irony
into one remarkable characterization. Likewise, Rosalind Russell's role
as the ace news-reporter to her ex-husband and ex-managing editor, who
is wooed back from marrying a staid, dull, but devoted insurance salesman
named Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), is her greatest comedic portrayal,
following her similar role in The Women (1939).
Tim Dirks of Filmsite Movie Review