FRONT PAGE, THE (1931)
Newspapermen-turned-playwrights Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur made their names with the 1928 Broadway play "The Front Page." Its rapid-fire, smart-alecky dialogue transformed not only the stage medium, but also, with the coming of sound film, the next few decades of movies as well. Adapted for the screen in 1931, THE FRONT PAGE is the story of star crime reporter Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien), fed up with his hard-driving, manipulative editor Walter Burns (Adolphe Menjou) and about to quit his job to marry his sweetheart Peggy (Mary Brian). But when a big story breaks, Hildy can't resist covering it, even if it means putting his honeymoon on ice. The play's madcap humor and endless wisecracking was expertly re-arranged by director Howard Hawks and screenwriter Charles Lederer in 1940 with their adaptation HIS GIRL FRIDAY, which recasts Walter and Hildy as former paramours Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, upping the sexual tension in their fraught workplace relationship and codifying everything wonderful about screwball comedy. DIR/PROD Lewis Milestone; SCR Bartlett Cormack, from the play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur; PROD Howard Hughes. U.S., 1931, b&w, 101 min. NOT RATED
AFI Member passes accepted.
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