His Girl Friday, the subject of this week’s 101 Films Podcast, is famous for many things: the fast-paced dialogue, the way Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell bounce off each other, the streak of jet-black humour that runs throughout the film. For Lewis and I though, the film’s greatest achievement is to introduce the concept of overlapping dialogue, of characters talking over each other. Any listener to 101 Films will be able to tell you how heavily that’s influenced the podcasts…
Directed by Howard Hughes, His Girl Friday stars Rosalind Russell as sexy-gives-as-good-as-she-gets Hildy Johnson, ex-reporter and ex-wife of Cary Grant’s Walter Burns. Hildy spends the film trying to resist the allure of going back to Walter and the life of a reporter. Now when you consider that this is the young, charming, on-top-form Cary Grant we’re talking about here, as well as it being the romantic, all typewriters and fedora hats period of journalism, then I think you can appreciate what a tough job that is!
The fact that you sympathise with Hildy’s dilemma is why His Girl Friday is such a great film. Despite Walter and newspaper journalism being both depicted as essentially heartless and amoral you can totally understand why Hildy would want to stay. Even when Walter and the newspapers are at their worst, they are still exciting, funny, charming and, well, romantic. Who wouldn’t want to spend their days chasing the latest scoop while bantering with Cary Grant?
We do our best in this week’s podcast to match the pace and humour of our subject film. Of course we fail, but dammit, at least we tried! Other than His Girl Friday we also have a quick discussion about Batman (as per usual), introduce a new feature and try out our best Cary Grant impersonations.
Anyway, without further ado, let us present this week’s feature presentation:
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101 Films Podcast 033: His Girl Friday
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Director: Howard Hawks Year of release: 1940 Studio/Distributor: Columbia Pictures Country: USA