His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy directed by Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and featuring Ralph Bellamy and Gene Lockhart. It was released by Columbia Pictures. The plot centers on a newspaper editor named Walter Burns who is about to lose his ace reporter and ex-wife Hildy Johnson, newly engaged to another man. Burns suggests they cover one more story together, getting themselves entangled in the case of murderer Earl Williams as Burns desperately tries to win back his wife. The screenplay was adapted from the 1928 play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. This was the second time the play had been adapted for the screen, the first occasion being the 1931 film which kept the original title The Front Page. The script was written by Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht, who is not credited for his contributions. The major change in this version, introduced by Hawks, is that the role of Hildy Johnson is a woman. Filming began in September 1939 and finished in November, seven days behind schedule. Production was delayed because the frequent improvisation and numerous ensemble scenes required many retakes. Hawks encouraged his actors to be aggressive and spontaneous, creating several moments in which the characters break the fourth wall. His Girl Friday has been noted for its surprises, comedy, and rapid, overlapping dialogue. Hawks was determined to break the record for the fastest film dialogue, at the time held by The Front Page. He used a sound mixer on the set to increase the speed of dialogue and held a showing of the two films next to each other to prove how fast his film was. His Girl Friday was #19 on American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs and was selected in 1993 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film is in the public domain because the copyright was not renewed, though the play it was based on is still under copyright. Walter Burns is a hard-boiled editor for The Morning Post who learns his ex-wife and former star reporter, Hildegard "Hildy" Johnson,[a] is about to marry bland insurance man Bruce Baldwin and settle down to a quiet life as a wife and mother in Albany, New York. Walter, determined to sabotage these plans, entices a reluctant Hildy to cover one last story: the upcoming execution of Earl Williams a shy bookkeeper convicted of murdering an African-American policeman. Despite Hildy insisting that she and Bruce will be taking a night train to Albany to be married the following day, Walter attempts to convince her that she is the only one who can write a story to save a wrongly convicted Williams. Hildy eventually agrees on the condition that Walter buys a $100,000 life insurance policy from Bruce in order to receive the $1,000 commission. In the meantime, Hildy bribes the jail warden to let her interview Williams in jail. Williams explains that he shot the police officer by accident. Hildy uses economic theory to explain the murder of the cop to Williams, insisting that he shot the gun because of production for use. Walter does everything he can to keep Hildy from leaving, first accusing Bruce of stealing a watch, forcing Hildy to bail him out of jail. Exasperated, Hildy announces her retirement from her profession; however, when Williams escapes from the bumbling sheriff and practically falls into Hildy's lap, the lure of a big scoop proves too much for her. Walter frames Bruce again, and he is immediately sent back to jail. At this point, she realizes that Walter is behind the shenanigans, yet is powerless to bail him out again. Williams comes to the press room holding a gun to Hildy and accidentally shoots a pigeon in fear. Bruce calls, and she tells him to wait because Williams is in the press room. Williams's friend Mollie comes looking for him, assuring him that she knows he is innocent. When reporters knock at the door, she hides Williams in a roll-top desk. At this time, the building is surrounded by other reporters and cops looking for Williams. Hildy's stern mother-in-law-to-be enters berating Hildy for the way she is treating Bruce. Upon being harassed for Williams's whereabouts by the reporters, Mollie jumps out of the window but survives. Annoyed, Walter has his colleague "Diamond Louie" remove Mrs. Baldwin from the room temporarily. Hildy wants to try to get Bruce out of jail, but Walter convinces her to focus on her breakthrough story. Source: Wikipedia -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Girl_Friday

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