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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

His Girl Friday (1940)



Reviews and Comments

The best of the filmed adaptations of the stage comedy The Front Page, His Girl Friday is also the least faithful, owing primarily to changing Hildebrand to Hildegaard and introducing some romantic tension into the relationship between the two main characters. It plays beautifully this way, and the cast -- Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell -- are in top form.

Although I like the play and have liked the majority of the adaptations I've seen, something has always bothered me about it. Maybe it seems to try too hard, or maybe it feels too mechanical. I can't help but compare His Girl Friday to other screwball comedies Cary Grant made around the same time -- Bringing Up Baby, The Awful Truth, Arsenic and Old Lace and so forth -- and in that company, His Girl Friday lacks the charisma that draws me to its peers. I say this only because the film is so highly regarded. Taken on its own terms, as it should be, this is a wonderful gem of a comedy.

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