I've been a bit under the weather the last few days, hence the quiet blog.
As I started to turn the corner and feel better, I thought a familiar film which is also famously rather loud would not only entertain me but help keep me awake! And indeed it did -- that movie being Howard Hawks' fast-paced HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940).
I'd previously seen this adaptation of the Hecht-MacArthur play THE FRONT PAGE at least twice; truth to tell, despite the film's classic status it's never been one of my favorite Cary Grant films, although Rosalind Russell, in one of her breakout roles, is absolutely swell. In fact, seeing HIS GIRL FRIDAY back to back with SUSPICION (1941) underscored Grant's ability to play sleazy characters all too well!
The newly divorced Hildy is now engaged to Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), who wants to give her a "normal life" in Albany. Bruce -- described by Walter as "looking like that fellow in the movies, Ralph Bellamy" -- is a nice guy, although it turns out he has a dragon of a mama (Alma Kruger) who would be living with the couple.
It's soon clear that sweet, trusting Bruce is far too tame for Hildy. It's the quintessential Bellamy "other man" role, as he ends up in jail multiple times in the course of a day while trying to leave town with his bride-to-be!
I enjoyed this viewing of HIS GIRL FRIDAY more than I have in the past, for two reasons. The first is that I was impressed with just how relevant its look at the reporting profession remains decades later; the reporters may act as though they have a noble profession, but as Mollie Malloy (Helen Mack) makes clear, the reporters are as apt to create news as cover it. They all end up looking pretty silly despite their self-importance.
The second reason for my enjoyment was I've gotten to know so many more of the faces in the movie well in recent years. What a delight to see Regis Toomey, James Millican, Frank Jenks, Cliff Edwards, and Roscoe Karns as newspapermen. The cast also includes Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, Billy Gilbert, Irving Bacon, Ann Doran, Abner Biberman, and Frank Orth.
Add in Russell in one of her key career woman roles, dishing it out and taking it from the boys in the newsroom, and HIS GIRL FRIDAY remains a film very much worth seeing.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY was shot in black and white by Joseph Walker. It runs 92 minutes.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY is available on a single-title DVD or as part of a three-disc, three-movie comedy set. It can also be streamed on Amazon.