His Girl Friday (1940)
Walter, you’re wonderful, in a loathsome sort of way.
— Hildy Johnson
His Girl Friday was a recommendation from the hosts of the Cinebanter podcast a couple of months ago. In this classic movie viewing month, this movie was on the top of my list to watch. Currently ranked on the Top 250 of All Time on IMDB at #216, this movie moved at a rapid pace, but left me in the dust.
Set in the smoked filled rooms of a local newspaper, Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) walks into the newsroom with her fiance, Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) in tow. She wants to tell her ex-husband, Walter Burns (Cary Grant) that she is getting married the next day. She wants to leave the newspaper business for good, be a wife and raise a family.
Walter has a plan to keep his favorite writer and love of his life in the city. His enlists his petty crook friend, Diamond Louie (Abner Biberman) to throw a wrench into Hildy from departing the city with Bruce. He wanted to prey on her desire for the written word.
There is a execution that would correspond the same day as Hildy’s wedding. A mousy man, Earl Williams (John Qualen) is accused of shooting a colored officer. Walter wants Hildy to deliver a great report about Williams that is about to be hanged.
This movie went into some different directions that surprised. There is instances that were contrived and too convenient to be believed.
Rosalind Russell owned the screen. She was an acting clinic in this movie. The dialogue was sometimes silly and artificial, but she sells it. Her witty quips, the playful banter, the knowing looks. Perfect. Cary Grant on the other hand was wooden, flat, and lifeless. He has going through the motions. Disappointing.
Walter was such a bastard that it boggles my mind that Hildy would go back to him in the end. A Big WTF! He mastermind her not being a real woman and made her another worker at his paper. The ending pissed me off so much.
Judgment: If you want to look inside the world of print journalism, watch this movie.
Posted on June 11, 2009, in 1940, Classic Movies, Comedy, Drama, Romantic, Running Feature, Top 250 of All Time on IMDB and tagged Abner Biberman, Cary Grant, Clarence Kolb, Gene Lockhart, Helen Mack, His Girl Friday, John Qualen, Ralph Bellamy, Rosalind Russell. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.