7.9/10
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398 user 116 critic

His Girl Friday (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 18 January 1940 (USA)
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2:50 | Trailer
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Charles Lederer (screen play), Ben Hecht (from the play "The Front Page") | 1 more credit »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cary Grant ... Walter Burns
Rosalind Russell ... Hildy Johnson
Ralph Bellamy ... Bruce Baldwin
Gene Lockhart ... Sheriff Hartwell
Porter Hall ... Murphy
Ernest Truex ... Bensinger
Cliff Edwards ... Endicott
Clarence Kolb ... Mayor
Roscoe Karns ... McCue
Frank Jenks ... Wilson
Regis Toomey ... Sanders
Abner Biberman ... Louie
Frank Orth ... Duffy
John Qualen ... Earl Williams
Helen Mack ... Mollie Malloy
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Storyline

Having been away for four months, Hildy Johnson walks into the offices of the New York City based The Morning Post, where she is a star reporter, to tell her boss, editor Walter Burns, that she is quitting. The reason for her absence was among other things to get a Reno divorce, from, of all people, Walter, who admits he was a bad husband. Hildy divorced Walter largely because she wanted more of a home life, whereas Walter saw her more as a driven hard-boiled reporter than subservient homemaker. Hildy has also come to tell Walter that she is taking the afternoon train to Albany, where she will be getting married tomorrow to staid straight-laced insurance agent, Bruce Baldwin, with whose mother they will live, at least for the first year. Walter doesn't want to lose Hildy, either as a reporter or a wife, and if he does, doesn't believe Bruce is worthy of her. Walter does whatever he can at least to delay Hildy and Bruce's trip, long enough to persuade Hildy to stay for good. His plan ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She learned about men from him! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

18 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$296,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films. See more »

Goofs

When Walter jumps up from spilling the drink in his lap, a napkin appears in his hand in the second camera shot. See more »

Quotes

Hildy Johnson: [Walter offers to buy a life insurance policy from Bruce] How long would it take to get him examined?
Bruce Baldwin: Why, I could get a company doctor here in 20 minutes.
Hildy Johnson: [Walter interrupts] You keep out of this. All right, Bruce, suppose you have Mr. Burns examined over in his office and see what they'll allow on that old carcass of his. If his...
Walter Burns: Say, I'm better than I ever was.
Hildy Johnson: It was never anything to brag about.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: It all happened in the "Dark Ages" of the newspaper game--when to a reporter "Getting that story" justified anything short of murder.

Incidentally you will see in this picture no resemblance to the man and woman of the press today.

Ready?

Well, once upon a time - - See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Dream of Jeannie: How to Marry an Astronaut (1968) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
As close to perfection as any film could hope for
20 April 2006 | by robb_772See all my reviews

As if creating one comedic masterpiece with 1938's BRINGING UP BABY was not enough, director Howard Hawks returned to the same genre a scant two years later - and he somehow managed to rival even his own previous masterwork. Nominally a reworking Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's play THE FRONT PAGE, HIS GIRL Friday manages to surpass it's classic source material and emerge as one of the screen's finest comedies. The film is also perhaps the perfect example of Hawks' trademarked rapid-fire, overlapping dialogue, which has never been as fast nor as furious anywhere else before or since. This is certainly one of the fastest moving comedies ever filmed, and the whole cast never misses a beat.

Walter Burns, the conniving, self-serving newspaper editor, is a character that could have easily come off as a tyrannical jerk. As portrayed by the suave Cary Grant, however, the pompous, arrogant Burns actually becomes (gasp!) likable! It is a difficult balancing act that Grant must perform as teetering between the two extremes of the character, and he is arguably the only actor imaginable with the skill and charisma to pull such a tricky characterization off this successfully. And the one-and-only Rosalind Russell is every bit his match - full of verve and aplomb, Russell's Hildy is an independent career woman, brimming with intelligence and class, that impressively pre-dates the major feminist movement of the mid-sixties by a good 25 years.

The film's supporting cast is no less impressive, with every single role cast to perfection. This is particularly true of Ralph Bellamy, who (along with his Oscar-nominated performance in 1937's THE AWFUL TRUTH) proves once again that he is the ultimate straight man. The film contains some grim subject matter that may seem like unlikely fodder for a screwball comedy (murder, attempted suicide, and public execution are all touched upon), although the film somehow manages to deal with such topics respectfully and without sacrificing any laughs. In the end, HIS GIRL Friday is an absolutely unbeatable romantic comedy that remains wildly hilarious and comes as close to sheer perfection as any motion picture could ever hope to.


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