© 1931 The Caddo Company

The Front Page (1931)

Having seen His Girl Friday a nearly uncountable number of times, I have always been curious to see the original film that it was based on. Howard Hawks famously changed the role of Hildy Johnson from a man to a woman, perfectly casting Rosalind Russell. Walter Burns and Hildy were those transformed from the best friends they are in this film to the every-so-slightly bitterly divorced couple they are in His Girl Friday. Watching the original film, it is clear how much of a stroke of genius Hawks’ changes were. While the the same fast-talking newspaper men are all here, but the story is somewhat lacking in central tension.

One highlight is an early performance from character actor Edward Everett Horton. Horton had already been in over a dozen films, dating back to the silent era, by the time of this film, he had really perfected the character type he would become known for, playing fastidious, slightly prissy roles, and he is definitely the funniest thing in the film.

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