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DownGoesFrazier

HIS GIRL FRIDAY

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I had already seen the film several times, but this time I tried to catch every line of dialogue, and all the rhythms of the dialogue. All I can say is, what a staggering accomplishment for Hawks! It has vaulted in my opinion to possibly the best pure comedy ever made. (THE APARTMENT not being a pure comedy).

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How in the world do you try to listen to everyline line of dialogue from that film?!?!?!? :D

 

It's really a terrific film from all aspects. Cary should of been nominated!

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I'll have to watch *His Girl Friday* again.It's been a long time. My recollection of it is very playlike, which I usually don't like in a movie. A filmed play. All shot on one set, and a lot of dialogue. All dialogue. Now I like Howard Hawks, and the stars - how can anyone not like Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell?

So, I guess it's not them, it's me.

But the impression of endless talktalktalk, and as you say, finance, veryvery fast, put me off seeing it again. Also Roz' pointy hat.

But many many people love this film, so what do I know? Maybe I was too young to appreciate it the first time I saw it (many years ago). I should give *His Girl Friday* another shot.

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I found the sheer volume of dialogue a little off-putting in the past, but this time I decided I would really try to focus and concentrate, and believe me, I was well-rewarded. I had to force my aging brain to process information very, very quickly.

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One of my all time favorites. And the dialogue! From the moment Hildy enters Walter's office this movie flies. Never gets old for me and I've seen it probably a dozen times.

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This is not a popular opinion, but I've never been able to get into this movie.

 

I'm a huge fan of Grant and Hawks, but it's one of those classics that I've never been too fond of. Maybe I'll change my opinion on it in the future.

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*His Girl Friday* is definitely a fun film but trying to keep up with all of the dialogue can mess with your head. Finance, you said it, dialogue wise its all about the rhythm. Two weeks from now is my vote for best pure comedy, *My Man Godfrey*. William Powell, a great supporting cast, and Carole Lombard (who I can just sit and look at all day.)

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I really enjoy His Girl Friday but as others have noted one does have to pay attention. The movie also has a dark side (a women jumping out a window isn't a comic moment), so I can see why some might be turned off by it.

 

My Man Godfrey is also my favorite comedy. I just love everything about it. Powell and Lombard; a better team on the screen than off (but they remained friends until the sad death of Lombard).

 

 

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For some reason, I've always foung MY MAN GODFREY to be distinctly un-funny I guess part of the reason is that I've never found Lombard and Powell to be two of the funnier people on the planet. For other screwball comedies, I far prefer THE AWFUL TRUTH and BRINGING UP BABY.

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Lombard was the "Queen" of screwball comedies and helped define the genre. But i respect your right to disagree. 8^D

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of THE AWFUL TRUTH isn't it delightful? I watched last night's showing and laughed just as if seeing it for the first time. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne were at their best.

 

 

 

 

 

A big thank you to TCM programming for airing this gem.

 

 

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Let's not split hairs here, these are all great films. The preferences (at least for me) are only by small margin. I always like William Powell's witty remarks and Carole is the all time ditzy female in *My Man Godfrey*. Am I off base in suggesting that Cary Grant was imitating William Powell a little when Grant started establishing his screen persona? William Powell first popularized that witty, suave type of character in the movies. Cary took that and kind of exaggerated it and being a younger and more handsome man he could take it to other levels.

 

 

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I love this film for a hundred reasons and love William Powell in My Man Godfrey, and Carole Lombard in everthing she ever did, but this funny fact-moving film is a true classic that got it into the National Film Registry. If you don't get it once, simply try again. Drink a few cups of coffee and don't blink, unless you have a few tears of laughter that you need to clear from your field of vision.

 

Edited by: Jackthewriter on Aug 16, 2011 2:25 AM

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The extended scene in THE AWFUL TRUTH which includes playing "hide and seek" with the dog, the two hats of different sizes, and the final line, "here's your diploma" is the funniest scene in the history of films, bar none.

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MrTiki, who had never seen this before, was sucked right in by Rosalind Russell- apparently he's attracted to pushy broads.

I agree (again) with misswonderly about the "stagey" quality & "talktalktalk" as reasons why I don't pull the DVD off the shelf more often.. it's kind of tiring. MY MAN GODFREY strikes me the same way and finding Carole Lombard annoying doesn't help.

 

My favorite screwball comedy despite the presence of Irene Dunn is MY FAVORITE WIFE. I like the dialogue pace, enjoy the sets & clothes, think the scenario is cute, but especially enjoy icky Randolph Scott as a "desirable" muscle man. How could Cary Grant EVER believe a woman would prefer Scott to him?

 

Anyway, we missed the end of HIS GAL FRIDAY.... the dialogue lulled us to sleep!

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Interesting, TikiSoo, your remark about Irene Dunne ("...My favorite screwball comedy despite the presence of Irene Dunn..." ) intrigued me. I'm not always her biggest fan either, but I'm not sure why. She can be very good, and she can be very funny. It's just a personal thing, I guess.

 

That said, I too find *My Favourite Wife* very funny. I tend to get it mixed up with *The Awful Truth* - hopefully this is understandable. I think it's *The Awful Truth* that has that hilarious scene with Dunne pretending to be Grant's sister. She crashes Grant's new fiance's family tea party ( or whatever it is) and proceeds to behave badly. She's very good at behaving badly here, and it's deliciously funny.

 

* Bonus for you: I strongly suspect that Dunne's character in both these screwball comedies changes her clothes at least 15 times in one day. ;

 

But anyway, I maybe should give *His Girl Friday* another chance.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 16, 2011 10:58 AM

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FYI- "My Favorite Wife" is being shown next Sunday morning....

 

 

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She can be very good, and she can be very funny. It's just a personal thing, I guess.

 

I can't quite define it either, there's a sort of self-righteousness about her - more than the story may demand I guess. Perhaps I'm out of my Continental mind though. ;)

 

But overall, I do like her as she can do comedy, drama and a musical with equal ability. She also had great genes and looked much younger than her years.

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You might have noticed that HIS GIRL FRIDAY has no incidental music scoring, just the main and end titles. In this picture, the DIALOGUE is the music. There are few films I can think of where the dialogue is so beautifully orchestrated with peaks and valleys of pacing. We're lurching toward illiteracy in our current culture, so enjoy great writing when you can get it.

 

As for the "stagey" aspect of the film, it's got nothing on the original FRONT PAGE, which was barely "opened up" at all.

 

And how can you not go ape over a movie with Clarence Kolb trying to pull the wool over Billy Gilbert's eyes!!

 

One of the great American movies. IMHO!

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I laughed when I read the line about 'despite the presence of Irene Dunne". It's ONLY in her comedies that I can take Dunne. In her dramas she seems very dated, very,(for lack of a better word) "old". But, in her comedies , especially with Grant, she is hilarious. For once she seems smart, funny with-it.

Side note: Re: the earlier post who couldn't understand how anybody could prefer Scott over Grant; well, they are certainly not cut from the same cloth, but I think Scott would be considered quite a catch by a lot of people .

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As for the "stagey" aspect of the film, it's got nothing on the original FRONT PAGE, which was barely "opened up" at all.

 

True, but for me, it's a lot more forgivable given its age. Milestone showed in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT that he was quite capable of moving the camera, and does so again here, just that owing to the confined setting, there aren't any panoramas. For its vintage though, the camera is relatively fluid. For what one can discern from the awful soundtrack, Hawks wasn't quite the first to use rapid-fire, overlapping dialogue. He may have emphasized it, but that surely had to be a lot easier to execute a decade later.

 

Of course, it would be a lot more pleasurable to watch this version if one could find a decent print. I've never seen one on air, on tape or on disc. To me this is one of the most needed restorations out there.

 

I've seen a taped version of the play which coincided with a Broadway revival that I saw. It starred Robert Ryan as Walter Burns and he just wasn't up to the part though he did try. George Grizzard was pretty good as Hildy but I thought that Bert Convy on stage was better. However, the recorded version looks as if it was shot in an afternoon and we may be fortunate that no known copy seems to exist.

 

I'd love to read that you have a great 35mm copy of the 1931 film. Even if I never will see it, I'd just love to know that one exists.

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Well people sure have different tastes and that is what makes life interesting. While I like a lot of parts of My Favorite Wife it isn't one of my favorite comedies because to me the movie spends too much time milking the plot point of Grant hiding the fact his first wife is back from his second wife and avoiding his second wife. I just yell at the TV; for heaven sake JUST TELL HER!@!!

 

So I view My Favorite Wife as a 40s comedy - i.e. just not as good or funny as the 30s comedies and lacking a little 'ump'.

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You find the scene in THE AWFUL TRUTH with Dunne playing Grant's sister funnier than the extended scene which included the dog playing "hide and seek"? Different strokes for different folks.....THE AWFUL TRUTH is usually considered "screwball" while MY FAVORITE WIFE is not. Can anyone explain that?

 

Edited by: finance on Aug 16, 2011 3:54 PM

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*You find the scene in THE AWFUL TRUTH with Dunne playing Grant's sister funnier than the extended scene which included the dog playing "hide and seek"? Different strokes for different folks.....THE AWFUL TRUTH is usually considered "screwball" while MY FAVORITE WIFE is not. Can anyone explain that?*

 

 

There are SO MANY great scenes in THE AWFUL TRUTH . . . like the one in the nightclub where Dixie Lee sings and the Ralph Bellamy character dances with Dunne . . . or the one with Bellamy's mother letting all know that she knows what happened to Irene's first marriage . . . or those two mentioned. My favorite is also with Dunne crashing the fiancee's mansion pretending to be the sister . . . "Somebody stole my purse. don't anybody move!" Great fun, as are all the other screwballs mentioned.

 

HIS GIRL FRIDAY is so fast because Hawks had the actors start their line before the other was finished with theirs. Must've taken a number of viewings at the movies to take it all in, what with the inevitable laughter.

 

MY FAVORITE WIFE is also considered a screwball comedy, but maybe not held in as high regard as THE AWFUL TRUTH. Don't know why, probably because the classic period for screwballs in considered to have ended after 1938.

 

 

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>Re: the earlier post who couldn't understand how anybody could prefer Scott over Grant; well, they are certainly not cut from the same cloth, but I think Scott would be considered quite a catch by a lot of people.

 

I _did_ specify no woman would prefer Scott over Grant. (and I understand even Cary was a bit light in his loafers)

 

The bit where Cary visualizes Scott on the trapeze always evokes a howl from me!

 

Funny that I mix up THE AWFUL TRUTH & MY FAVORITE WIFE too. I don't see much difference between Jean Arthur or Irene Dunn (except in height) either. I'm only luke warm to either of them and don't know why.

 

This is why I prefer HIS GAL FRIDAY, I just like Roz and what she adds to the film. Just wish she wore a dress with eyes on the chest for every movie.

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