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Thursday, 7 June 2012

His Girl Friday (1940)

Star Birthday... Rosalind Russell 

Rosalind Russell was born on 4 June 1907, and had a successful career spanning 40 years. Known for playing classy character roles, often professional characters, she was not considered a sex symbol. Some of her memorable roles include Sylvia Fowler in The Women (1939), Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday (1940), Mame Dennis in Auntie Mame (1958) and Madame Rose in Gypsy (1962).

Recommended viewing

His Girl Friday

'His Girl Friday' is a 1940 screwball comedy directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.

Walter Burns (played by Grant), is having dicculty in letting go of his ex-wife Hildy Johnson (played by Russell). After Hildy informs him she is about to marry insurance salesman Bruce Baldwin (played by Ralph Bellamy), Walter attempts to delay the marriage by enticing Hildy to run an exclusive interview with a convicted murderer Earl Williams, who is about to be hanged. The film takes a humourous turn when Williams escapes from jail.

Rushed dialogue

The flm is notable for having rapid dialogue, where many of the actors talk over each other, rather than waiting for the other actor to finish speaking. This was deliberately intended by Howard Hawks to give the film a more naturalistic feel, however as a spectator it is distracting and at times difficult to understand what is being said. For this reason, I do not recommend this film to viewers speaking English as a second language, unless the film is subtitled.

Did you know...

  • As of 1968 the film is the public domain due to Columbia Pictures not renewing copywright - as a result this film is widely available on DVD very cheaply
  • In the original play in which the film is based, the role of Hildy was a male character

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