His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, an adaptation by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur of the play The Front Page by Hecht and MacArthur. The change in this version is that the role of Hildy Johnson was converted from male to female.
The film stars Cary Grant as Walter Burns and Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson and features Ralph Bellamy as Bruce Baldwin. It is noted for its rapid-fire dialogue.
The film was #19 on American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
Walter Burns (Cary Grant) is a hard-boiled editor for The Morning Post who learns his ex-wife and former star reporter, Hildegard “Hildy” Johnson (Rosalind Russell), is about to marry bland insurance man Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) and settle down to a quiet life as a wife and mother in Albany, New York. Walter determines to sabotage these plans, enticing the reluctant Hildy to cover one last story, the upcoming execution of convicted murderer Earl Williams (John Qualen).
Walter does everything he can to keep Hildy from leaving, including setting Bruce up so he gets arrested over and over again on trumped-up charges. He even kidnaps Hildy’s stern mother-in-law-to-be (Alma Kruger). When Williams escapes from the bumbling sheriff (Gene Lockhart) and practically falls into Hildy’s lap, the lure of a big scoop proves too much for her. She is so consumed with writing the story that she hardly notices as Bruce realizes his cause is hopeless and returns to Albany.
The crooked mayor (Clarence Kolb) and sheriff need the publicity from the execution to keep their jobs in an upcoming election, so when a messenger (Billy Gilbert) brings them a reprieve from the governor, they try to bribe the man to go away and return later, when it will be too late. Walter and Hildy find out just in time to save Walter from being arrested for kidnapping.
Afterwards, Walter offers to remarry Hildy, promising to take her on the honeymoon they never had in Niagara Falls, but then Walter learns that there is a newsworthy strike in Albany, which is on the way to Niagara Falls by train.
Cary Grant as Walter Burns
Rosalind Russell as Hildegard “Hildy” Johnson
Ralph Bellamy as Bruce Baldwin
Alma Kruger as Mrs. Baldwin, Bruce’s mother
Gene Lockhart as Sheriff Peter B. Hartwell
Clarence Kolb as Mayor Fred
Abner Biberman as Louis “Diamond Louie” Palutso
John Qualen as Earl Williams
Helen Mack as Mollie Malloy, Earl’s girlfriend
Porter Hall as Reporter Murphy
Ernest Truex as Reporter Roy V. Bensinger
Cliff Edwards as Reporter Endicott
Roscoe Karns as Reporter McCue
Frank Jenks as Reporter Wilson
Regis Toomey as Reporter Sanders
Frank Orth as Duffy, Walter’s copy editor
Billy Gilbert as Joe Pettibone
Pat West as Warden Cooley
Edwin Maxwell as Dr. Max J. Eggelhoffer
His Girl Friday was dramatized as a radio play on the September 30, 1940 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray and Jack Carson. It was dramatized again on The Screen Guild Theater (March 30, 1941) with Grant and Russell reprising their film roles.
His Girl Friday and the original Hecht and MacArthur play were later adapted into another stage play, His Girl Friday, by playwright John Guare. This was presented at the National Theatre, London, from May to November 2003, with Alex Jennings as Burns and Zoë Wanamaker as Hildy.
The 1988 movie Switching Channels was loosely based on His Girl Friday, with Burt Reynolds in the Walter Burns role, Kathleen Turner in the Hildy Johnson role, and Christopher Reeve in the role of Bruce.
Duration : 1:31:45
Continue reading His Girl Friday: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart (1940 Movie)