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His Girl Friday

August 31, 2010

132. His Girl Friday
Directed by Howard Hawks
USA, 1940
IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Rachel
First viewing


When Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) tells her editor and ex-husband Walter Burns (Cary Grant) that she’s going to leave the newspaper business and remarry, he does everything he can to stop from losing his best reporter and love of his life.

Essential Scene:

Hildy has been roped into writing for a big murder story, after Walter appeals to her love of reporting and her talent for writing. Her fellow reporters congregate at a table in the press room to play cards and smoke. We’ve already been introduced to these men a few scenes before and, because of the friendly way they greet Hildy, we have them down as decent guys. A young girl called Molly Malloy walks in and her mood is very clear:

Molly: I’ve been looking for you tramps.

Hildy walks in and returns to her typewriter while Molly continues to shout at the men. It’s obvious that they have taken her for a ride, publishing lies about her relationship with the man accused of murder and using her for their own gain. They continue their card game while hardly looking up, as Molly gets more and more agitated. Their tone towards her is mocking and cold.

His Girl Friday

Why was I surprised at this scene? The press, ladies and gentleman!

Molly: They ain’t human!

Hildy: I know, they’re newspapermen.


I enjoyed His Girl Friday for its very quick dialogue, funny one liners, Cary Grant’s ad-libs and in-jokes, and Rosalind Russell. I would like to see more of Russell after seeing this film, she was a joy to watch. But the inevitable ending (which I won’t reveal but come on, it’s a romantic comedy!) left me a little uneasy, due to the world you see around Hildy.
One Comment leave one →
  1. Jim Lawrence permalink
    September 1, 2010 2:10 pm

    The beauty of this film is the rapid-fire crosstalk, almost as if dialogue turns somehow into ballet. Howard Hawks was a genius.

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