Vintage Film: His Girl Friday

Titles for Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday

Directed by:

Howard Hawks

Starring: 

Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell

Year: 

1940

I first saw this first-talking media-based flick from Director Howard Hughes, when I was a Film Studies student at University. We recently picked it up fairly cheaply, because I'd always been telling Chris how I was always convinced that this was a "Gilmore Girls" type of film, because this really is a fast-talking movie. However, I don't think I truly anticipated how relevant His Girl Friday would be in light of recent events in the world of journalism.

The film is very typical of when it was made, because the title promotes it purely on the romance between the two leads. However, to a modern audience, the film is about so much more than that.

The Media


Scene from Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday
What's really interesting is to see how absolutely ruthless journalists were in the 1930's and 1940's, when it came to getting a news story. It didn't even seem to matter whose life they were messing with to get that story, and this is still so creepily accurate today, as the recent Leveson Report has unveiled.

It's odd, because a lot of people like to say that the way newspapers work is a "modern thing", and many try to place a great deal of blame, specifically onto Rupert Murdoch - and whilst I am for no minute implying that he hasn't played a key role, in recent events - His Girl Friday is evidence enough, to demonstrate that the ruthless nature has been bred into reporters for a lot longer than that.

Fast-Talking 


Scene from His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell
Both Grant and Russell played their roles with a great amount of wit and cynicism, that as a writer, really appealed to me, because such fast-talking banter is so difficult - not only to write, but to perform as well, and like performing Shakespeare, I think that only a few actors are truly capable of doing it, and of doing it as well as Grant and Russell.

I also loved that even if they are trying to play the love story - more than the overall idea behind the media - Russell's character Hildy Johnson was by no means a drippy "save me" kind of woman, and played Grant's Walter Burns just as hard as he attempted to play her future husband Bruce.

Remake


His Girl Friday is actually a remake of an earlier 1931 film from Howard Hughes, although Hawks changed the second role from male to a female for his film. However, it always surprises me that - as far as I'm aware - there has never been a more modern remake, and in the 21st Century, I think now would be a perfect time for one to emerge!


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