I love watching old classic films and especially ones starring actors such Cary Grant. Blu-ray has given these classics a new lease of life so when I spotted that the classic His Girl Friday (1940) was coming out on Blu-ray naturally I ensured I picked up a copy. So without further ado here’s my His Girl Friday Blu-ray review.
- His Girl Friday (1940)
- Genre: Screwball Comedy
- Directed by Howard Hawks
- Written by: Based on The Front Page 1928 play by Ben Hecht Charles MacArthur
- Music by Sidney Cutner & Felix Mills
- Cinematography by Joseph Walker
- UK Rating U (Main film His Girl Friday (1940) / 12 (2nd film The Front Page (1931))
- Discs: 2
- Released By Sony Pictures
- Blu-ray Released: 16 January 2017
- Starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart
Cary Grant plays Walter Burns the editor of the newspaper The Morning Post. His star reporter just happens to be his ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell). Walter has just learnt that she is leaving the paper and marrying a dull uninteresting insurance man, Bruce Baldwin. Furthermore they intend to leave immediately to be married.
Clearly still in love with his ex-wife Walter orchestrates events to stop Hildy from leaving town and ultimately sets out to win her back.
Style / Direction
Howard Hawks directs this black and white classic comedy. The film moves along at a frantic pace as does the witty dialogue between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. It works very well giving the film plenty of energy making the 92 minutes simply fly-by.
The film deliberately uses the effect of several people talking over each other’s lines as it would happen in real life. This creates plenty of tension and feels completely natural as it would be in a real newspaper office.
The film is largely set in the Newspaper offices but with plenty of fast paced scenarios / stories, it really doesn’t require much more.
Of course I have to mention that His Girl Friday is heavily based on / a remake of the 1931 film The Front Page. However changes were made most notably by casting the character of Hildy Johnson, the star reporter, as a woman. In doing so the whole film is changed into a romantic screwball comedy that plays heavily to Cary Grant’s strengths.
Music / Audio Effects
Perfectly suits the silly screwball comedy tone with a big band high tempo style.
Acting / Characters
I would have to say all the main characters are well played but His Girl Friday lives and dies by how well Grant and Russell bounces off each other’s dialogue. Thankfully their relationship is full of sparks and makes for satisfying viewing.
Conclusion – His Girl Friday (1940) Film Review
If you love watching old classics or are just a Cary Grant fan then His Girl Friday is simply essential viewing. It’s a film whilst set in a different era still feels fresh with plenty of energy and witty dialogue.
I’m not generally in favour of remakes but then this goes under its own name of His Girl Friday and not The Front Page. In doing this a couple of changes are made such as switching the gender of the star reporter to female and making her and the editor a former married couple. These small changes have a massive impact in giving the film its own identity.
Plus it should also be noted that the story existed outside of and before the 1931 film version.
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His Girl Friday Blu-ray Review
The film has undergone a full 4K restoration and I’m happy to report the picture quality is flawless. It really is a joy to watch on Blu-ray and I recommend you pick this up on Blu-ray sooner rather than later.
- The Front Page  (101 mins)
- Howard On Hawks (10 mins)
- Lighting Up With Hildy Johnson (25 mins)
- On Assignment: His Girl Friday (9 mins)
- Howard Hawks Reporters Notebook (3 mins)
- Funny Pages (3 mins)
- Rosalind Russell The Inside Scoop (3 mins)
- Lux Radio Theatre (59 mins
- The Front Page (1931) Film
An excellent set of extras, perfect for any cinephille. Plenty of background information on the film, director Howard Hawks and the cast. A genuinely interesting set of extras.
On to my movie rating for His Girl Friday (1940)
- Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
Amazon UK Links
His Girl Friday (1940) is available now on blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
That concludes my His Girl Friday blu-ray review, check back soon for more reviews.
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Summary: His Girl Friday (1940) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: His Girl Friday (1940)
Duration: 92 mins
Director(s): Howard Hawks
Actor(s): Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart
Genre: Screwball Comedy
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
- Extras Rating
Well written and brilliantly acted His Girl Friday is still way ahead of many of today’s offerings. The Blu-ray version has flawless picture quality.