The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's classic 1928 newspaper play, has had three official film versions and contributed structural DNA to half the movies ever made about professional camaraderie and fierce love... more »-hate friendships. Lewis Milestone's 1931 movie is well respected (Billy Wilder's 1974 version isn't), but this is one case where the remake towers brilliantined head and blocked shoulders above the original.Howard Hawks had the inspired notion of making Hildy Johnson--the ace newsman whom demonic editor Walter Burns is trying to keep from quitting and getting married--a she instead of a he. What's more, she's not only Walter's star reporter but also his ex-wife. When Hildy (Rosalind Russell) comes to tell Walter (Cary Grant) she's leaving the newspaper business, he bamboozles her into carrying out one last assignment--a death-row interview with a little nebbish (John Qualen) convicted of killing a policeman. It sounds like a snap, but before you can say screwball comedy, the press room of the Criminal Courts Building has become ground zero for all the lunacy a jailbreak, a shooting, an impromptu suicide, a corrupt city administration, and the most Machiavellian "hero" in the American cinema can supply. His Girl Friday is one of the, oh, five greatest dialogue comedies ever made; Hawks had his cast play it at breakneck speed, and audiences hyperventilate trying to finish with one laugh so they can do justice to the four that have accumulated in the meantime. Russell, not Hawks's first choice to play Hildy, is triumphant in the part, holding her own as "one of the guys" and creating an enduring feminist icon. Grant is a force of nature, giving a performance of such concentrated frenzy and diamond brilliance that you owe it to yourself to devote at least one viewing of the movie to watching him alone. But then you have to go back (lucky you) and watch it again for the sake of the press-room gang--Roscoe Karns, Porter Hall, Cliff Edwards, Regis Toomey, Frank Jenks, and others--the kind of ensemble work that gets character actors onto Parnassus. --Richard T. Jameson« less
Get the "Cary Grant on Film" version! D3K gets 0 stars!
M. Dufarge | Nashville, TN | 04/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one on my favorite movies of all time. The dialog is fast, funny and SMART. Plus, the gender treatment is fascinating, and not dated in the slightest. But . . . WARNING! Avoid the D3K DVD at all costs. It is truly the most horrendous digital transfer I have ever encountered. The picture is fuzzy and the dialogue almost incomprehensible. I have a five-year-old VHS copy of a TV broadcast of the movie that has much better sound/picture quality. To make things worse, the feature menus on the DVD are poorly designed, so that you cannot tell what you are selecting. And the makers had the audacity to have a whole menu with the credits for production of the DVD. I can't believe how mad I got trying to use this DVD.Luckily my friend had another version I could compare (and eventually buy). The "His Girl Friday/Cary Grant on Film" version is superb in comparison: Dialog is crisp, picture sharp. It has a bonus documentary, Tony Curtis introduction and the trailer. And IT COSTS LESS than the D3K. This version is a winner."
John M. Dlugosz | Allen, TX United States | 12/10/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sure you know that this classic movie is great. The DVD itself, on the other hand, is not what I've come to expect regarding restoration and remastering and whatnot. Bottom line is, the quality was as bad as the "bargain bin" VHS tapes of old movies that I quickly learned to avoid. In particular the sound was badly degraded, with a hiss that made it difficult to understand the dialog towards the beginning (that improved somewhat, but it was still bad). That's particularly annoying because I could clean it up better than that myself, with a trivial application of "Cool Edit" shareware! Clearly, this is a direct scan of poor quality original and zero work went into presenting it. The picture, too, is full of flickering spots and the whole thing has a soft out-of-focus look to it. If you just have to have this film in your collection, be resigned to the poor quality. If you're just looking, ask yourself if it's cheap enough for the lousy job."
Unbearable Image and Sound Quality
Richard Shupe | New York, NY USA | 01/06/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Avoid this product at all costs. This great movie is ruined on this disc. The image quality is awful and continuously blurred. The sound quality is equally fuzzy. It's like watching a movie with your head wrapped in cheese cloth.Amazon should stop selling this disc on the grounds of defective merchandise."
Thanks to the other amazon reviewers ...
bdny | usa | 04/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"for warning me about which version to get. I bought the columbia classics version which was digitally remastered. The picture and sound quality are both excellent. There are a couple of versions out there. Luckily, I read the reviews here and didn't get duped into buying the cheap poor quality dvd. The movie itself is my favorite comedy of all time next to Some Like It Hot. This was one of my favorite roles by Cary Grant. The chemistry with Rosalind Russell was very smooth and Ralph Bellamy played his part well as the stuffy insurance salesman...Remember GET THE COLUMBIA CLASSICS VERSION. It's an extra ten bucks but excellent quality."
Shamefully Poor Quality Ruins Great Movie
Ted L. Reinert | New York, NY USA | 12/22/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"A long-time favorite movie of mine, "His Girl Friday" is overdue for a thorough restoration. With its release on DVD, I hoped I'd see Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell looking crisp and sharp and hear their crackling dialogue with new clarity. Alas! This DVD appears to be a pirated copy made from a defective video tape. I was unable to tolerate more than five minutes of the fuzzy, ghostly spectres that flickered across the screen or the hisses and burbles that issued from the apparitions in place of dialogue. I seriously question the honesty of the manufacturer. An outrage.TedReinert@nyc.rr.com"