Thursday, July 20, 2006

It all happened in the "dark ages" of the newspaper game

Jill was sick last night and the girls were tired.
It made sense to watch a DVD.
So, I introduced them to one of my old favorites -- Howard Hawks' "His Girl Friday."
I adore that 1940 film for its depiction of the inherent conflict between human relationships and being "a news-getting machine," which is how Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson describes the newspaper business -- a business that has ensnared me for the past 14 years. I also admire Hawks' directorial abilities. He takes a challenging scenario and keeps it flowing so smoothly. The film lover in me just sits back and enjoys the ride.
Jill laughed at the jabs at journalists.
"I know all about reporters, Walter," Hildy tells Cary Grant's Walter Burns. "A lot of daffy buttinskis running around without a nickel in their pockets and for what? So a million hired girls and motormen's wives'll know what's going on?"
The girls loved the verbal sparring between Hildy and Walter and especially loved the thrice-jailed, would-be Hildy husband Bruce Baldwin, played with increasing exasperation by Ralph Bellamy.
We howled at one of the film's classic in-jokes. Walter directs a girl to find Bruce and trap him into a "mashing" episode by giving her this description:
"He looks like that guy in the movies. He looks like Ralph Bellamy."
It comes so fast, you have to be waiting for it.
Much of the movie is like that, and it is part of what makes it one of the greatest films of all time.


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