Sunday, January 17, 2010

His Girl Friday

Rosalind Russell
Originally uploaded by Music2MyEars
Walter Burns runs a newspaper and is a shady newsman through and through – he’ll do anything to keep the stories coming. Hildy Johnson is Walter’s ex-wife and ex-journalist who comes to Walter with the news that she’s getting remarried. To try to turn Hildy back into a newsman and get rid of her fiancée Walter convinces Hildy to do one last story on a local cop killer. When Hildy pursues the story her personal and professional life get confused again as the newman in her comes to the surface and she remembers her feelings for Walter.

His Girl Friday is a film I had to see because it’s a classic that is referenced by everyone and I have a love for classic Hollywood cinema. While His Girl Friday did not disappoint it was a different film than I expected.

Having seen films like Bringing Up Baby I expected His Girl Friday to be a screw-ball comedy through and through, but it’s not. His Girl Friday is almost indefinable as it has many tonal shifts during the film; it is at once a romantic comedy, mystery, thriller and slapstick film and without Carey Grant and Rosalind Russell this film would be badly disjointed. However, His Girl Friday has such great, classic actors that watching their films makes it obvious why they are still remembered today.

What I do really love about His Girl Friday is that at it’s core this is a film about a women who has shattered the glass ceiling – and the man that is chasing her down because he doesn’t want her to ignore that fact. Hildy is the only female journalist around and she’s been trapped by thinking that to be happy and :human” she has to settle down, ditch the job and have the babies. Her fiancée Bruce supports this, but her ex Walter knows her well enough to know this will make her miserable. This is downright groundbreaking for the era this movie was made and I love this film for it.

I really did enjoy His Girl Friday, but it is a very dense, scattered film and I think it will require multiple viewings to really catch it all.

Director: Howard Hawks
Writer: Charles Lederer
Walter Burns: Cary Grant
Hildy Johnson: Rosalind Russell
Bruce Baldwin: Ralph Bellamy

Bruce Baldwin: I like him; he's got a lot of charm.
Hildy Johnson: Well he comes by it naturally his grandfather was a snake.

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