Wednesday, August 26, 2009

His Girl Friday (1940)

Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant star in what may be the greatest screwball comedy ever made.

Russell is Hildy Johnson, an ace reporter for a Chicago newspaper who has decided to quit, upsetting her editor (and ex-husband) Walter Burns (Cary Grant). Hildy has decided that she wants a more quiet life and plans on leaving Chicago to marry insurance man Bruce Baldwin, causing Walter to scheme and plot to try and get Hildy to stay in the business by getting her to cover one last story about a murder.

The two leads in this film are absolutely fantastic, playing off each other in a brilliant love/hate relationship. They're both strong, hard-headed people who feed off their work, and it's brilliant watching Rosalind Russell become more and more invested in a story she didn't even want to cover in the first place, and Cary Grant again shows why he is the king of the screwball comedy, charming and funny, even when he's trying to steal another man's woman.

The main attraction of this film is the dialogue, which crackles with wit and humor and is delivered at such a rapid fire pace, it's easy to get lost when watching the film. I'm not joking when I say that, the lines are delivered so fast and often at the same time, that the film requires your attention in order to full enjoy it. It's a classic example of the kind of dialogue that doesn't really occur very much in movies anymore, and when it is attempted, it usually comes off as overly quirky and forced, which is sad.

The film is just a joy to watch, you have two of the greatest actors who ever lived going at eachother with intelligence and zeal and it all moves at a fairly brisk pace.

There isn't much left to say that it's hailed as one of the greatest comedies ever for good reason, and it's something I recommend for anyone.

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