Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

His Girl Friday

Cary Grant is terrific (he always is) but it's Rosalind Russell's film. She only got the role because everyone above her in the pecking order had turned it down- the silly fools- but it could have been written for her. She sashays through the newsroom like a knight errant on a high-stepping horse.

It's one of those all but perfect Hollywood movies- and they're very rare. There's a randomness about the studio system: you deal a hand- throwing people together from the collection you have on your books- and every so often you get a royal flush. Every performance is great, some are outstanding. Billy Gilbert steals every scene he's in with his Billy Gilbert act. How unlikely is it that a movie that's nearly 80 years old should still be so funny!

The speed of the dialogue must have bamboozled the censors. They let some shockers get past them. (Hooray!)

Great farce is heartless. It's the nature of the beast. Only, only....

...There's this one scene: the reporters sit round a table, backs to the room, playing cards, while Molly, the girlfriend of the man who's going to hang in the morning, scurries about behind them telling them to do something, screaming about how unfeeling they are. They fend her off with wisecracks. Then she leaves the room, the card game breaks up, and the camera watches from a distance as the reporters, heads down, quit the table and mooch about the room. For a brief, bleak moment- in this most frenetic of films- the jokes have stopped. 
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