One is tempted to throw away any semblance of persuasion and simply demand that you go see this movie. Without His Girl Friday, there is no sexy, Tarantino-esque banter (maybe no banter, period; speed limits are flagrantly violated). On a more personal note, this is a movie that makes journalism seem like the most exciting profession in the world: a job that involves daily flirtations, card playing, smoking, phoning it in (both figuratively and literally) and the strong possibility of hooking up with either Svengali editor Cary Grant or ace reporter and former “doll-faced hick” Rosalind Russell.
Never were two wits so perfectly entwined, and let’s tip a fedora to screenwriter Charles Lederer’s sparkling bons mots, adapted from the 1928 stage play The Front Page. But the real genius here is director Howard Hawks, who, with the casual insouciance he became known for, liked the way cocky Hildy Johnson sounded when the part came out of his female secretary’s mouth—so he made the role for a woman. We have to be careful not to ascribe any further politics to the man. But out of such decisions, careers have been born. It’s a film that makes you want to sharpen your barbs and sling sass with the adults.—Joshua Rothkopf
Opens Fri 18; BAM. Find showtimes
Watch the trailer