Meet Cute: Easy Living (1937)

So for Valentine’s Day 2019 the very sweet and awesome Phyllis Loves Classic Movies is hosting the Meet Cute Blogathon!

There are so many cute “meet cutes” to choose from but I chose to write about the cute meeting of Jean Arthur and Ray Milland in Mitch Leisen’s Easy Living from 1937.

I’m not going to discuss the whole movie (maybe save this for another blogathon!?) but I will write a short sweet post on the scene where Mary (Jean Arthur) meets John Ball Jr (Ray Milland).

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(wikipedia)

In an absolutely classic meeting of two people, they meet in probably the most 20th century setting you can get: The Automat!

When Mary stops by just for a quick meal she gets more than she bargained for when she meets John Ball Jr who just so happens to be the son of JB Ball: the third richest banker in America (who is played by Edward Arnold- Jean and his character meet in the beginning of the film).

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How cute are they two? (pintrest)

What is adorable about the two meeting is Mary just thinking John is a regular ol’ worker, but in reality John is working undercover in an effort to be independent from his father. Mary 100% buys into John’s story and she invites him to stay in her luxurious suite while he looks for a job.

When the two leave the automat its for certain to say they each have fallen for each other! And for the others at the automat, well they just fall down in a hysterical sequence that makes us all wish we had this much fun while eating out.

For the rest of the film: there’s a bunch of cute scenes between them- and personally I wish Jean and Ray made another film together because they have natural chemistry- and for Jean Arthur that’s major, as she was a shy actress who sometimes had trouble playing scenes with her leading men.

What I will say is further hilarity ensures and includes a funny scene of the two trying to turn off multiple shower heads!

If you adored the scene above I hope you tune into the whole movie the next time it pops up on TCM! Its a legitimately under rated screwball comedy from its era and every time I watch i,t I wish I could be lucky to meet someone in an automat!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! and Don’t forget to “meet” the other “cute” entries in the link above!

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The Big Street 1942

February 2019 kicks off with the Fondathon hosted by the cool blog Sat in Your Lap and I had to write for this one because my love for Henry Fonda started when I was very young. However, instead of writing about my love for the movie that made me love him, I decided to write a piece about a film that is an oddball with still great performances: 1942’s The Big Street co-starring Lucille Ball.

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The Big Street is based off a short story called Little Pinks, which is the nickname for Henry Fonda’s character (real name Augustus Pinkerton II). The plot is a bit looney: demanding showgirl Gloria Lyons (Lucy) becomes paralyzed after her nightclub owner boyfriend Case Ables (Barton Maclane) pushes her down a flight of stairs after a show. Left with no money after medical expenses, she then relies on busboy Pinks to take care of her.

Pinks takes care of her out of the goodness of his heart and even though he is treated poorly by Gloria- he never wavers to be there for her. He even calls Gloria “Her Highness” when attending to her and his devotion goes so far as to push Gloria in her wheelchair from New York to Florida- that’s right, push her wheelchair– so she can recuperate in better weather.

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(credit Pinterest)

Now reading what I just said, some of you may think, “who wants to watch Henry Fonda be treated like a slave and put up with it“, however, I believe below the surface there’s a lot of depth to the characters of Gloria and Pinks; and that this movie proves Lucille Ball is a real actress- as her character is so unlikable.

I truly can see in this movie that Gloria does care for and may even like Pinks- in a very, very elementary-school I like you but am too proud to say it way. Gloria is a showgirl, and has that attitude of one. Pinks is a humble busboy and shows undying loyalty. The best example of this is when after he leaves Gloria’s service to return to being a busboy once in Florida he rushes back to her side once she becomes seriously ill.

In all honesty- I’m not even sure what makes this movie watchable, but it is. Maybe its the character actor supporting cast (including Agnes Moorhead), or maybe Henry Fonda saves the day with devotion and adorableness. Personally, for me, what makes it worth watching is the chemistry that is evident between Ball and Fonda- it’s what made me want to see this one in the first place. Its not like the connection in Yours, Mine, and Ours (their 1968 reunion film) but there is something between them that is so clearly present in their scenes together- no matter how badly Pinks is being treated. (NOTE: I’m not sure if this is due to the fact they dated before this movie was made- but I think it’s evident Fonda still had a crush on her in real life)

All in all- the film does deliver with good performances and is worth checking out- even once. And when all is said and done- it’s young Henry Fonda- and that’s always worth a watch!

Remember the Night (1940)

When it comes to Barbara Stanwyck, I came to like her by “accident” in the sense I never set out to say, “I’m gonna see her films!” I came to discover her though other actors she worked with and then kind of sat back and thought, “Wow! Barbara Stanwyck really is amazing” or, “I came for this actor but hey, Barbara Stanwyck caught my eye too.”

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CREDIT: Wikipedia

Remember the Night (1940) was the very second Barbara Stanwyck picture I saw, (the first being Double Indemnity (1944)), and honestly, I wanted to watch it because of Fred MacMurray. With that being said, the exact scenario I just described above then happened when I watched this film- Barbara Stanwyck with her talent and effortless performance caught my eye.

Recently, I was discussing Remember the Night with one of my high school teachers I keep in touch with and it made me come to the conclusion this film is actually a strange blending of genres that works really well. Its part Christmas classic, screwball, but also part melodrama, and dare I say even a little bit dark.

Obviously this movie is very Christmas-y, as the whole movie is kick started by it. The movie starts off with Lee Leander (Stany) stealing a bracelet, cutting to a trial with Jack Sargent (Fred) as the prosecutor. However, due to the Christmas season, the trial is postponed. When Jack learns Lee is also a Hoosier, he offers to drop her off at her Mother’s home on the way to his family.

The screwball part comes into play when they are driving and get lost. There’s also a cute cow milking scene, but the screwball scene soon comes to an end when the pair actually arrive at her Mother’s house. Upon arriving, they learn her Mother has remarried and has cut off her daughter, never wanting to see her again.

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CREDIT: Bluray.com

Heartbroken, Lee is then taken home by Jack and spends Christmas with his family (with Beulah Bondi playing his Mom and Elizabeth Patterson as his Aunt). From this point on the film mainly is a melodrama. Christmas plays out, as well as the aftermath of Lee and Jack falling in love. It all leads up to a somewhat unsatisfying ending; that despite its loose ends still makes us watch this movie over and over again. (I don’t want to spoil this ending!! It’s something the viewer should watch for themselves)

As I brought up, Miss Stanwyck is just remarkable in this film. I almost take her performance for granted and especially when she has Mr. Fred MacMurray as her leading man; there’s just something that makes them an extremely appealing screen couple. Its unexpected, the two of them together as a couple, but it just works. I don’t think Fred was ever more believable as a man falling in love than when he was with Barbara Stanwyck.

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Fred’s fallen!! Credit: TCM

Wrapping up, I will leave you with the trailer- and going back to my original assessment, even it makes you wonder just what type of film they were trying to market.

THIS ENTRY WAS WRITTEN FOR THE REMEMBERING BARBARA STANWYCK BLOGATHON hosted by two fellow awesome bloggers Maddy Loves her Classic Films and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

Vivacious Lady (1938)

I cannot think of a better way to start 2019 blogging, as I am more than thrilled to help Crystal of In the Good old Days of Classic Hollywood and Robin of Pop Culture Reverie celebrate the motion pictures made in the year 1938. Speaking on a personal level, I say the films of 1938 certainly rival the ones made in 1939. 1938 has a slew of great movies in itself and its about time we recognize the year’s legacy in film history.

Vivacious Lady

For this blogathon, I chose to pay tribute to a wonderful non-dancing Ginger Rogers picture made at RKO, Vivacious Lady, produced and directed by George Stevens; co-starring James Stewart in one of his first roles as a leading man.

Vivacious Lady is a wonderful often overlooked screwball gem. Its got a plot we all are familiar with- Girl (Francey) and Boy (Professor Peter Morgan) meet, get married on a whim, and afterwards have trouble finding alone time!

For Ginger, this part was the role she had been looking for to prove herself as a straight comedic actress, she was without Fred Astaire, there were no elaborate dance or singing numbers. Whereas for James Stewart, it gave him exposure to audiences as the leading man. Up until this point he had been a supporting player, playing everything from Jean Harlow’s boyfriend in Wife vs Secretary to After the Thin Man’s “Bad Guy”- but this role elevated him to the roles he was meant to be playing.

Jimmy and Ginger

This movie benefits from their genuine chemistry and during production although the two were NOT dating Jimmy and Ginger did date closer to 1940, ending sometime when Jimmy went to war. 

Not to be ignored are the immaculate supporting cast of character actors: Beulah Bondi and Charles Coburn as Peter’s parents, James Ellison as cousin Keith and Francis Mercer as Helen, the ex-fiancee.

The stand out scene of the movie occurs with Francey and Keith teaching Mrs. Morgan how to dance “The Big Apple”- and then Mr. Morgan walks in on the lesson! The expression on Charles Coburn’s face makes me laugh every time!!

However, the funniest part comes when Francey and Helen have perhaps one of the first girl v girl cat-fight in the movies- remember this movie pre- dates The Women!

Nice one Ginger!

The scene is so hysterical without being over the top- its basically sheer perfection! Ginger recalls in her autobiography (Ginger: My Story) the fight, “was choreographed as carefully as any ballet“, and all of its humor came down to George Stevens’ editing.

In all retrospect, 1938 was a turning point for both Jimmy and Ginger- even though they never made another film together. Jimmy of course was on his way to being the star we know today, starring in You Can’t Take it With You later that year. Ginger made Carefree with Fred Astaire and Having Wonderful Time and was moving towards a solo career.

As for George Stevens, he was in the middle of his Hollywood career with not only war documentaries ahead of him, but also many legendary productions as well including Woman of the Year, Shane, and Giant.

Click here to check out TCM’s page on Vivacious Lady and to look for upcoming airdates!

CLIPS: Youtube, PICTURES- dvdbeaver.com and IMDB

John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man (2010)

On this Dec 30, heading into the new year, I wanted to do one of Movie Rob’s GGs (Genre Grandeur)  – I always get his emails – and when the theme of documentaries came up- it gave me a chance to A- participate and do something for a great fellow film blogger and B- do something a bit different as I’ve never reviewed a documentary before.

(credit: Amazon)

I watch a lot of documentary programs such as on Reelz Channel about the British Royal Family as well as celebrity documentaries- but in terms of legit documentaries- I wanted to tackle the the 2010 Irish documentary John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man (2010)- and its absolutely the best documentary you can watch if you are a true “Quiet Man Crazy” (as they are called!).

To start off, I’ll declare that it was good timing with the making of this documentary as Maureen O’Hara was interviewed (this came out 5 years before she died) which adds a great deal of authenticity. John Ford himself appears in archive footage and although John Wayne himself does not appear in any type of interview, his daughter, Aissa, does. And of course, what would a classic Hollywood documentary be without insight from Peter Bogdanovich and Martian Scorsese.

I like the style of the documentary, as it just isn’t (archive) interviews with the cast and crew of the film, there’s interviews with legitimate people- a local shop owner in Cong (where the film was shot), John Ford’s Irish cousins, Maureen’s nephew Charlie. It goes on modern day location to see what some of the most iconic film landmarks look like today (such as the Pub, the Bridge, the field where Mary- Kate and Sean go on their courting sequence). The film even goes to the site of where John Ford’s Irish family’s house was and even to Maine where he grew up.

(credit: Wikipedia)

Of all interviewees, of course, Maureen O’Hara provided the most insight. What she revealed wasn’t exactly “new” info (to the devoted fan), but what I found was that it gave viewers a sense of emotion; it’s one thing to read about her thoughts in her autobiography or in a quoted written piece, but definitely another thing to hear her talk about it. I loved to hear the feistiness of her voice when discussing Ford or the fondness she possesses when remembering John Wayne. The real treat in her interview segments was her remembering, clear as day, the words to the song she sang in the film. She SPOKE the words, but still- she didn’t pause or stumble upon saying them!  

The rest of the documentary really goes in depth to analyze the film- from the choices made in shooting the film, to the certain little details chosen to make it sentimental. Furthermore, it sets the record straight about some of the famous rumors regarding the film (yes, Wayne directed the horse race scene on the beach, no the final words whispered by Mary Kate in the end have not and will not ever be told to the public ).

Overall, this is just a splendid documentary that really makes you realize this was Ford’s ultimate picture and that he did put his whole being into making it.

Here is the trailer and if you want to see the whole film- Olive pictures has released it on DVD and Blu Ray. I have to point out- Olive has added bonus interviews and clips, trust me they are worth seeing!!! (Amazon Link)

Night of the Iguana (1964)- Richard Burton Blogathon

The Night of the Iguana poster.jpg

To be very honest I chose to do this (late) review of Night of the Iguana (so so sorry and again thanks for allowing the late posting!!!) for the Richard Burton Blogathon because 1- It was on TCM and 2- I don’t own any Burton Films. This was my first Burton film I had watched and while I didn’t love the movie- I did appreciate the performances.

Perhaps I didn’t like the movie because I’m not a super big fan of Tennessee Williams OR director John Huston (I don’t dislike Huston, I just don’t count him in my top favorites).

Night of the Iguana sees RB as Reverend Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon and the aftermath of his affair with a Sunday school teacher. The main narrative picks up two years after the event and Shannon is working as a tour bus driver in Mexico. One day after 17 year old Charlotte  Goodall (Sue Lyon) fails at seducing Shannon during a bus ride, he makes a stop at Costa Verde hotel in Mismaloya, thinking it is still run by his old friend, but soon finds his widow Maxine (Ava Gardner) running the place.

Richard Burton and Ava Gardner in The Night of the Iguana (1964)

It is there, Shannon runs into two guests: painter Hannah Jelkes (Deborah Kerr) and her poet grandfather (Cyril Delevanti). During the night’s stay Shannon faces his inner demons head on, which Burton portrays in a very evoking emotional performance.

Despite the fact the actors are all great- I, much like those in 1964, don’t understand this movie. I really don’t get the whole iguana metaphor, in terms of figurative metaphor. It’s visually there on screen yes- but I really can’t connect it with Reverend Shannon (It’s probably because I’m reading too much into it?).

In today’s view- the plot and characters of this movie have gone on to become a topic of study, but as I mentioned, at the time of release no one really cared about the plot, as the real performances were occurring off camera with just-waiting-to-break scandals. Elizabeth Taylor was staying with Burton while on location, (just after her divorce from his manager) while Deborah Kerr’s husband, Peter Viertel, was an “old friend” of Ava Gardner’s. According to IMDB, John Huston gave the cast gold plated guns during the filming.

Anyways, I do want to see more of Richard Burton’s films because he is a distinctive actor and a fine performer. Maybe one day I will actually understand this movie’s sentiments and message- but for the first time around I didn’t quite grasp it. But for now, I am dying to see Anne of a Thousand Days because I am a Tudor-holic!!!

Here’s hoping in the future I will be willing to give this one another chance!!

WRITTEN FOR THE RICHARD BURTON  BLOGATHON

PICTURES: Wikipedia, Top poster IMDB- for the others

The Undefeated (1969) Rock Hudson Blogathon

Hello everyone! Its Blogathon 3 of November and its time for the entry for the Rock Hudson Blogathon hosted by Michaela at Love Letters to Old Hollywood and Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.

In some ways, The Undefeated (1969) ever-so-slightly reminds me of The Horse Soldiers (1959). The casting of two major actors, the civil war era backdrop, as well as the two leads coming together to fight the common enemy.

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An aspect audiences may find interesting about this film is its main point of focus is about a historical event many probably do not even know about- the Austrian intervention in Mexico, when Archduke Maximillian was deemed Emperor of Mexico on the behalf of French Emperor Napoleon III. The film loosely follows the true story of Confederate General James Orville Shelby’s escape to Mexico in an attempt to join the Austrian forces. The name of the movie is taken from a famous poem written about Shelby and his men’s efforts.

The Undefeated sees John Wayne as Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and Rock Hudson as Confederate Colonel James Langdon. After the end of the civil war, Langdon feels defeated and along with his men, plan to flee to Mexico to join the French-Austrian recruits in the invasion of Mexico and their president Benito Juarez. Thomas is also on his way to Mexico along with his adopted Indian son (Roman Gabriel) and 3000 horses to sell them to the French Austrian forces. Naturally the two parties cross paths, and after settling their differences and making their way, join forces to defeat Juarez’s Mexican forces that threaten them both.

It’s a standard later John Wayne western, and even though it may not rank as one of the “Best western” movies, it still is worth watching for all of the great actors (Ben Johnson, Dub Taylor for starters) in the story. Mr. Hudson referred to this movie as, “crap”, but I think anyone watching today would consider it good- especially when there are no westerns made like this anymore.

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In today’s terms, The Undefeated is almost a forgotten film on both Wayne and Hudson’s filmographies. John Wayne had his great role as Rooster Cogburn in the year’s True Grit and for Rock Hudson there were no big roles for him around this time; it really was towards the end of his film career, before making a transition to TV.

The Undefeated gave Hudson a real chance to shine. In his role of Colonel Langdon Hudson he gets to prove he can do a convincing southern accent. I immediately compared it to Pillow Talk (1959) when he was able to do a phony Texas accent when one was called for it. Hudson giving a convincing accent in this movie just proves the way in which he approached his characters and the way he gave them a genuine believability.

In all honesty, I probably have to watch this film again in order to really catch the details- it’s a bit long at just under 2 hours, but really enjoyable even if its not my personal favorite. After all- John Wayne made this movie even when he was in extreme pain for tearing his shoulder ligaments- and for that alone it should be an appreciated piece !!!

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(photos from pintrest and wikipedia)

Rear Window- 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

This year for the Grace Kelly Blogathon Day 2 I made the daunting decision to write up on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954)– which is arguably not only The Master’s best film, but also Grace’s best role.

But before I get into some of the technicalities, I will say that instead of giving a boring bloated analysis of it- Id like to focus on some of the stand out pieces that I feel make the picture brilliant

Grace plays Lisa Carol Fremont in this role- a model and independent woman. Her boyfriend is a photographer LB “Jeff” Jefferies (maybe that’s how they met!) played by Jimmy Stewart. Jeff breaks his leg and is holed up in his apartment with nothing to do but stare out and “spy” on his neighbors. Its all people watching until one night he suspects his neighbor Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) murders his wife. Jeff, Lisa, along with Jeff’s nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), then investigate the truth.

One element that I feel goes overlooked is the scene in which Lisa turns on the lights and introduces herself to the audience. Everyone focuses on her kiss entrance scene- but the scene that follows is just as brilliant.

Lisa goes over and turns on three lights- and with each light says a part of her name. But note the framing- the first light, Lisa- the camera is a close up; the second light, Carol- its a medium shot- and finally the third light, Fremont, the camera zooms out to a long shot in which we get to see her gorgeous black and white frock.

Its pieces like this in which I feel Hitchcock’s tiniest details of framing and dialogue go great with each other. And Grace- she’s the only actress who could make an entrance as simple as this super sophisticated and elegant.

Another element in this movie that I feel may be under rated is Hitchcock’s use of sound. Except for the opening credits, all sound in this film is diegetic sound. Its an interesting choice for Hitch, as usually his soundtrack scores are a key focus of his films. Take a look at the intro to the film (don’t worry no spoilers)

I’m not a fan of Jazz- but there is something so infectious about this piece of music that sets the scene for the film. You automatically thing New York, the 50s, glamour, but business of the city. Also note how in the title sequence there are shades opening almost as if the audience is the voyeur for this picture.

Next- lets talk about the under rated and often taken for granted set of this movie- its a whole neighborhood in a sound stage- and that’s something you rarely see anymore (as its too expensive!). This is a set with no green screen, or digital apartments- they are really there and they are built. From what I know- they used two sound stages and the apartments were the street level while places like the courtyard were actually the basement.

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All apartments were made livable, and Hitchcock would give direction through an earpiece that all the actors had. Watch the video for the opening scene of the neighborhood and courtyard- just mind blowing on how that was all created!!

Finally- Lets discuss Grace Kelly in this movie!! This is her ultimate glamour role, her ultimate Hitchcock role and her most well known role. I feel only she could be Lisa Carol Fremont and if someone else like Vera Miles or Kim Novak would have played the role- this picture would not have been as believable or memorable. Lisa Fremont is so proactive, more than just the “girlfriend”and sidekick- as she’s the one doing the action scenes that Jeff can’t. I believe Hitch spent the rest of his career trying to find another actress to create a role such as this- but naturally and utterly failed, finding good, but somewhat sub-parr actresses for big roles in his pictures. Its so easy to take for granted how phenomenal Grace is in this role!!!

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In Sept 2017 (the day of Grace’s death) I had the pleasure of viewing Rear Window on the big screen and I can say that it absolutely changes your experience. Seeing every moment play out on the big screen makes it all more thrilling and dazzling.

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Click here to read a post I did concerning the fashions of Rear Window.

To Grace I will say that on this happiest day her birthday-I hope we can all pay her a great tribute, and I hope she is thrilled and perhaps touched that there are so many young people who still adore her and her movies!

 

HERE TODAY! 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon!

It’s here everyone! Today begins the 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly blogathon! And I can’t wait to read all of our wonderful reviews! Remember I’m doing today’s posts and Ginnie at The Wonderful World of Cinema is doing tomorrow’s posts (which is Grace’s 89th Birthday!) Let’s so some love to our favorite actress and Princess, Grace Kelly!!!

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The Stop Button kicks off today with High Noon

Pale writer on Mogambo

The Drive In’s phone call on Dial M For Murder

Musings of a Classic Film Addict sees Green Fire

Pale Writer’s Spy Magazine article on High Society

Popcorn and Flickers reviews the Kelly Bag’s glorious history! 

The Story Enthusiast discuses the new book by Mary Mallory: Living with Grace (Its a great book!!)

I will be writing my review tomorrow- so be on the lookout for it!

Let’s all have a fun weekend with Grace Kelly by relaxing, watching some of her films, reading each others posts, and just gushing over how adorable she is!

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The Front Page and His Girl Friday

Happy Noirvember everyone! I’m back for the first entry of 3 this month kicking November off with Phyllis Loves Classic Movies’s remake of the THEY REMADE WHAT? blogathon.

His Girl Friday poster.jpg    Image result for the front page

When it comes to His Girl Friday (1940) and The Front Page (1931), its easy to dismiss Lewis Milestone’s The Front Page as just simply, “the original His Girl Friday”. And of course His Girl Friday is so famous in its own right many may forget that it is a remake- it was one of the first movies ever to have overlapping dialogue, is a favorite amongst Cary Grant fans, and contains the now iconic performance of Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson (as Howard Hawks switched this character from a man to a woman during audition read-throughs, when his secretary read the part of Hildy).

However, upon viewing The Front Page for the first time ever, The Front Page is significant in its own right. Up until His Girl Friday, it was the fastest talking picture ever produced and even though yes- it can sometimes struggle with that pre-code dialogue delivery by some of its actors- its very forward in its production and it paves the way in what was to come in the style of which movies were made (see a video link at the end).

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 Ben Hecht- co writer of the original play

The plot of both these films is the same, and both are adaptions of the 1928 Ben Hecht- Charles MacArthur Broadway play of the same name. Editor Walter Burns and reporter Hildy Johnson are perfect work partners (and in His Girl Friday– ex man and wife), that is until Hildy announces s/he is getting married and will therefore be leaving the newspaper’s employment. Walter wanting to keep his star reporter on board then entices Hildy with the assignment of covering the story on escaped accused murderer Earl Williams. Hilarity then follows when Walter sets up stunts to delay Hildy’s departure- from kidnapping his/her future Mother in law to hiding Williams in a roll top desk!! (And of course there’s the additon of the throw -away fiancee for even more laughs!)

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Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell 

Comparing the two- I have seen His Girl Friday many more times- and I will say it does have the edge in terms of a picture overall but, sometimes the Walter-Hildy romance sidelines the main focus of the newspaper and the dialogue goes so fast you have to go back and play certain lines again to make sure you are hearing it right. The delivery of the dialogue in The Front Page may be weaker, and that’s not the actors fault’s, as this is still an early talkie picture, when speech was still being perfected, but it’s better than a lot of others made around the same time. Adolph Menjou especially gives a great performance as Walter- and hits the dialogue marks nicely- but I’m saying it- he can’t top Cary Grant’s manner of speaking- Cary owns this role.

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Adolph Menjou, Pat O’Brien, Mary Brian

In terms of Hildy- its not really applicable to compare the two- as they are basically different characters in these movies. I think its fair to say that while His Girl Friday is a comedy of remarriage The Front Page is more a buddy- buddy comedy and is actually (probably) more comparable to the 1974 Billy Wilder remake (I have not seen this version), in which Hildy is once again a male character. I will say Rosalind Russell is superb in her role. She won the part at the last minute- and after basically everyone else (Jean Arthur, Ginger Rogers, Carole Lombard to name a few!)  in Hollywood turned it down.

Overall, I do declare these two films do tell a story of Hollywood evolving in its ability to tell the same story in different production eras. The Front Page came out in 1931- the early talkie, pre code era that was on the verge of change, and His Girl Friday is from 1940, at the height of screwball comedy- and I can see now they both influenced the later works that followed.

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Remade again! in 1974.. and again  in 1988 as Switching Channels

If I had to give a key difference to describe both of these movies, I conclude that while The Front Page is a more faithful adaption to the play, His Girl Friday is what happens when filmmakers give their own spin on an established story- and in this case it paid of wonderfully for both Howard Hawks and the screwball legacy.

Both of these movies are also in the public domain and are available to watch on youtube.

Check out this video from filmstuck  discussing some of the changes made to His Girl Friday- they talk about character framing/ placement and the side by side comparison of the dialogue- it really gets at the distinguishable changes!!

 

PS- Check out this  cool new musical for Buttons!!! with an all star cast- the film comes out Dec 8 in select theaters only! Check Fathom events links for details!!

Buttons Ticket Page 
Buttons Website
Official Trailer