His Girl Friday - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

His Girl Friday Reviews

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December 3, 2016
The classic gender-twisted version of The Front Page play which was previously filmed in 1931 and remade in 1974 & 1988. Part of The Criterion Collection with the pre-release version of the 1931 film adaption of the play and on Blu-ray. A must watch film... All involved are in great form.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2016
I guess the term "screwball" couldn't be more well illustrated than by this laugh-out-loud comedy whose characters shoot their overlapping lines in an insanely frenetic rhythm, with Grant and Russell simply hilarious and displaying an enormous chemistry together.
½ November 5, 2016
Hectic-paced comedy classic. Russell and Grant are fantastic. Dialogue travels at 100 miles a minute! And it manages to take pot-shots at tabloid journalism, corrupt cops and politicians with the romance taking a back seat to the goings-on.
Twice ironical reference is made to real names - Grant describes Russell's fiancé Bruce as looking like Ralph Bellamy and later he refers to Archie Leech, of course Grant's real name. All good fun and the miracle is the pace just keeps the original murder of a (black) cop, an attempted suicide and the impending hanging all at bay.
Is this movie almost without any music? I only noticed it at the end. It was as if it would have only been a distraction otherwise. The dialogue took up every second of the soundtrack!
August 4, 2016
This screwball comedy has some very funny scenes, and the dialogue between Grant and Russell is so fast at times, that a second viewing would be necessary to pick up all the mumblings. Although the editing isn't the best and it does get a little hectic towards the end, this movie is classic comedy, with superb chemistry and timing between these two Hollywood stars. 1001
½ July 27, 2016
Fast talking, witty, cold and detached journalists in love with their careers in 1940. Films like this are so important to our future generations because they show that humans have been very much alike for a lot longer than we think. It's easy to lose sight of that in classic literature or theatre compared to modern fast chats online and via text messaging, but when we see a movie, we see this kind of attitude and behavior locked in time, and the film stock no longer matters - there are people who act and think like we do, dealing with the same shit and corruption and paranoia. But Cary Grant is cooler than all of us, he's still someone we'd envy. And women who think they're so unique in 2016 with their career-oriented ambitious attitudes need look no further than Rosalind Russel's Hildy Johnson to realize this is not new. She's the real star, the power of the story, and though she falls into Grant's manipulation, he is still at her mercy, because who wouldn't love a powerhouse of a woman like that?

I'm guilty of criticizing ridiculously speedy dialogue on shows like Gilmore Girls, but I kind of like it here. The layers are astounding, several conversations happening at once; a multidimensional experience, too bad this wasn't shot 3D. How the actors handle it must've involved a great deal of practice. How it looked on paper is confounding - after searching for the screenplay, I was disappointed not to find at least two column, if not three column dialogue -- I'm suspicious of it's legitimacy. It's by far one of the fastest-paced, jampacked wit, chaotic circumstantial movies I've ever seen, and yet Howard Hawks manages to smooth it over and deliver it clean.
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2016
Prolific Howard Hawks turns The Front Page into a fast-paced Romantic Screwball Comedy. This version especially inserts brand new dialogue into the exposition where we find out that Burns (Grant) and Hildy (Russell) are exes and that Hildy is remarrying a stiff in the insurance business named Bruce (Bellamy). Rather than waiting for the end, the final clincher to prevent Hildy's marriage, Burns manipulates the situation repeatedly to get Bruce delayed by the police. There are major chunks of dialogue from the original play cut and rearranged. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell are in top form as the bickering former husband and wife and co-workers. The leading pair's charisma and timing makes for lots of laughs and it is quite original, only minimally based on the story structure of The Front Page, but when all is said and done I had to reduce my rating by a half star after a recent re-watch on Hulu.
July 12, 2016
Combining some of the best one-liners in history with a few stellar performances, His Girl Friday is the film to watch for witty dialogue. There's just no other film that compares.
½ July 3, 2016
1 star each for Cary Grant & Rosalind Russell & half for the fast-paced dialogue, but I guess I wasn't too crazy about this movie. The leads are great, the dialogue is pretty good, but I wasn't captured.
½ May 19, 2016
This film is about a woman (played by Rosalind Russell) who goes to tell her ex-husband/ex-boss that she is getting remarried. As the film progresses, her ex (played by Cary Grant) uses every trick in the book to try and get her to stay. Because Grant plays a newspaper editor, and Russell was one of his ace reporters, the whole scheme he plans revolves around getting her to cover one more story. Part of what makes the film work is the fact that the story they are covering is completely compelling on its own. You could make an entire movie centering around just the stuff that they are talking about reporting, so I was invested not just in the 2 leads, but also the subjects of their news. The comedy in this movie is all dialogue based, because the movie doesn't have a lot of action beats, instead they talk about what's going on. The lines are all delivered in the rapid-fire style of a classic screwball comedy, so if you're not paying attention you might miss some of the laughs. There were times in the film when the rate of the dialogue was so fast that it felt downright oppressive. I think that's the draw for some people when it comes to these kind of comedies, and it makes re-watching the film fun because you can catch things you missed the first time around. Most of the time I was enjoying this movie, but it gets slightly illogical in certain places, and I felt like I was getting lost sometimes among all the words that were flying at me. I'd still recommend it, though, and might consider watching it again to hear what I missed.
½ May 13, 2016
"His Girl Friday" is a very funny screwball comedy from 1940 with bullet-speed dialogue, proof that journalism never changes, and a rather unsatisfying conclusion.
May 8, 2016
The tightest, wittiest dialogue in film. They don't waste a single word.
April 28, 2016
There are films are deal with specific issues and present them as such, but there are films that present themselves as a purely entertaining; however, one should realize that everything is political. Film is a strong political tool because it feeds the viewer the ideologies of it. His Girl Friday, (1940), presents its ideologies in a one-liners comedic form that traps the viewer in a world where there is a clear separation between masculinity and femininity that Hildy Johnson, a newspaperwoman, seem to blur. The film traps the viewer in a specific manner of thought that creates separations, whether in the way the characters are presented or in the way the scenes are delivered. The manipulative business of the press is seen in the manipulative speaking manner of newspapermen and how they would manipulate their way to get "the story," the film itself is in the manipulative business for it presents the viewer with its classification of masculinity and femininity.
His Girl Friday opens with a message telling the viewer that what they are about to see "does not resemble the men and women of the press today." One can sense the sarcasm behind that message, and as a 1940 film, it is still relevant today as a representation of the "inhumane" nature of the press. The film associate the press business with masculinity, as in the beginning Walter tells Hildy, "you're a newspaperman" and she tells him, "that's why I'm quitting I want to go someplace where I can be a woman." She also says, "I'm going to have babies and take care of them." Creating clear boundaries between the characteristics associated with being a man and being a woman, boundaries between binary opposites. However, the film tends to reverse the roles of man and woman in opposite to the ideologies it creates, as Walter says that Sweeny, one of the newspapermen, "picks the day to have a baby," and Hildy having a more masculine character than her fiancé, Bruce. By the end of the film, Hildy starts crying and Walter tells her, "You never cried before," as Hildy is too manly to cry, implying that crying is a characteristic of women.
Moreover, mise-en-scène in the film emphasizes the boundaries created by the dialogue in the film. Doors are stressed in several aspects; the opening shot of the film is tracking shot of Hildy as she walks before Bruce and stops him when they reach a door that separates the newspaper, where she works, and the rest of the world. Later, when she goes inside to see Walter, her ex-husband and the editor, she tells him that her new fiancé opens doors for her and treat her like a woman not an "errand boy." Hildy being a "newspaperman," was never treated like a woman in the newspaper business. As Hildy and Walter walk towards toward her fiancé, Hildy opens the door for Walter, he walks in front of her and he lets the door shut behind him instead of holding it for her, which again shows the reverse of roles in the film. The door in the beginning creates a boundary between being in the newspaper business and not being in the newspaper business, between being human and being a "chimpanzee." There is another door in the movie that separates the two worlds, which is the pressroom door. In the pressroom, Mollie comes in as the newspapermen are playing poker and they completely ignore her. A lamp hangs above the table creating attention to where their attention and cards are. In a later scene, Mollie jumps off the window of the pressroom and the newspapermen gather around the window looking down at Mollie as the streetlights illuminate the spot where she lays. They were giving her complete attention because, as she lies down, she represents a possible story. The jail bars create another boundary, for they create a separation between Hildy Johnson and Earl Williams. Earl tells Hildy, "I couldn't plead insanity... 'cause I'm just as sane as anybody else." The bars here separate the sane from the insane. Also, Burce gets arrested three times during the movie, and each time he insists that he is not guilty, implying that these bars separate the guilty from the non-guilty.
The press business is of manipulative nature that makes the newspapermen associated with barbarity. "They ain't human," says Mollie and Hildy replied, "I know. They are newspapermen." Newspapermen manipulate the words of a story to present it as how they want it rather than how it is. Walter tells Bruce, "My wife that is your wife Hildy," the manipulative reminder that Hildy was his wife first, and tells him that he wants to provide for her to make Bruce feel like he is not needed. Hildy wants to quit the manipulating business of the press, but she bribes the guard into letting her into the cell of Earl Williams. In the jail with Earl, the newspapermen characteristics of Hildy become apparent when she manipulates the words out of him. She tells him, "You didn't mean to kill that policemen" and he replies, "Of course not," but Hildy was merely stating what she wants him to think. She is confining his thoughts, the same way his body is confined inside the cell. She gives Earl the cigarette she is smoking, and he only realizes that he does not smoke after exchanging a few words with her. She asks a question and then stops him when he answers with something other than what she wants him to think and say. Earl mentions that he hears some guys talking about "production for use." Hildy then asks what he thought about with a gun in his hands and he did not know, so she says could it have been "production for use?" It is what he just said after all. She presses Earl into agreeing with how she is leading his thoughts. She first says, "What's a gun for, Earl... Maybe that's why you used it." He replies, "Maybe" but then he fully believes that this is the truth. "I've never had a gun before in my hand and that's what a gun for... Yes that is what I thought of 'production for use." She is seen manipulating him nearing the end of the movie when she is trapped in the pressroom with Earl holding a gun and she says, "You don't want to shoot me, Earl. I'm your friend, remember?" using her the power of her words to manipulate the actions of Earl.
Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday creates confinements for the viewer thoughts by continuously separating the ideologies it is presenting. At the same time, it shows how words can manipulate the thought process of people, and as a film, it manipulates the thought process of the viewers. A woman is playing the role of a man, but is dressed like a woman. She wants to be treated like a woman, but she cannot leave behind the world of masculinity and manipulation.
April 17, 2016
His Girl Friday (1940) ????
Legendary comedy about Grant trying anything (repeat: ANYTHING) to keep is ex-wife from remarrying. Sensational story makes for one of the fastest, funniest comedies ever made. Available on Netflix-however, the quality of the video on Netflix is terrible. See it on Amazon Video in much better quality, if you're willing to auction off a couple bucks (though it's free if you have Amazon Prime).
February 24, 2016
The stylized quirkiness you come to expect from Howard Hawks and the hilarious talent you come to expect from master of faces Cary Grant, makes this film pure gold. Another comedy classic for Hawks.
January 26, 2016
I can see how this screwball comedy can be funny with its cross-talks.
December 25, 2015
Such a lovely intense film. Filled with so much drama and charm
December 13, 2015
The explosive chemistry between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell is reason enough to watch this satirical and tense film about the ridiculous world of journalism and reporters quest to get a story on a murderers escape from prison. Russell's performance is especially fantastic.
December 13, 2015
Another very overrated film. This frequently appears in the lists of greatest movies ever made and I can't fathom the reason at all. Is there really anybody out there who laughs at a group of trilbied blokes firing NYC accented lines at each other so fast that they are scared they're gonna run out of film. I don't and couldn't find anything else to laugh about in this "classic comedy" either. The critics should really move on, like the world of comedy has.
November 28, 2015
This comedy is one of those considered one of the best within the screwball department, and for good reason. The movie is all about Walter and Hildy, a divorced couple whose relationship really never worked out for them and now Hildy is going to get married again to man named Bruce Baldwin. Hildy used to work on the newspaper that Burns is editor of but has since realised the journalist's world is not for her and she wants to settle down in Albany with her new husband. Of course the plot never quite goes smoothly, Walter wants Hildy back on the job being his star reporter but she simply doesn't want to go back and not even a murder case where the accused may be innocent will tempt her back in when Walter first asks. The movie is a great mix of fast humour and wit, sarcasm but also just generally great characters and although some are pretty unlikeable, they are well acted throughout the movie.

The two big stars of this are Cary Grant (Walter) and Rosalind Russell (Hildy) and they bring with them an expert class of acting that really makes this comedy come alive. The film even suffers slightly when we don't have say Grant in the picture for a little while, for me he is the stand out and some of the lines he is given are delivered with incredible style. The whole cast are pretty good to be fair too, Ralph Bellamy as Bruce is good and plays ever so well when the film see's Walter basically mocking the man without his knowing. The character of Earl Williams is very strangely funny, just his voice works to get most of the jokes out well and another character too Mr Pettibone adds to the speedy plot that never stops for breath.

Howard Hawks brings the film in nice style to the screen and really brings the most out the actors at his disposal. It is Hawks who gets the film really going fast and also he that sets up this busy style film where everyone seems to rush in and out of a room in a split second. The adaption of the play "The Front Page" comes out funny on the big screen I mean this movie is never laugh out loud funny not really but it is the true intelligence of all involved that makes it really good. I think if anything stops it from being perfect then it is the fact that the middle and end can feel a little flimsy but all in all never breaks up, the actual end scene is very very fast and ends the movie is a way you probably won't be expecting.

So His Girl Friday is just a real classic and one I couldn't recommend more to people, I know some will think they will not like it but I watched this twice in two days not because I loved it so much but because after the first viewing I knew I had missed many gags and knew it was better than I thought it was. Some could say this movie is also one of the very best in the careers of Grant and Russell, both give stunning performances so much so that after viewing this film and researching it I expected them to have taken some awards home for this but no. So anyway a screwball comedy that really makes you laugh but it is also really interesting as well, the kind of movie that if watched right, you won't take your eyes off it for a second.
November 26, 2015
Cary Grant never ceases to impress me, and continues to remind me that he is one of my favorite actors of all time. Hilarious,bright,brilliant! This is a must see!
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