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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitter patter
In terms of picture quality there are some unsatisfactory DVD versions of `His Girl Friday' but there is nothing wrong with this particular item (Columbia Classics CDR 19838). The film remains fresher than many old comedies and stands up to repeated viewings. It is sharply written, briskly directed, superbly cast and well played from top to bottom. Watching this is a...
Published on 28 May 2006 by Colin Jones

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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Probably the worst DVD ever !
What a travesty the DVD of 'His Girl Friday' release is - so much so that it must rank among the worst DVDs ever released onto the unsuspecting Region 2 market. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way criticising the film itself - simply the ineffective and downright lazy DVD transfer.
One only has to look at the likes of the recent releases of 'The Big Sleep' and...
Published on 16 Oct 2000


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitter patter, 28 May 2006
By 
Colin Jones (Rhyl, North Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
In terms of picture quality there are some unsatisfactory DVD versions of `His Girl Friday' but there is nothing wrong with this particular item (Columbia Classics CDR 19838). The film remains fresher than many old comedies and stands up to repeated viewings. It is sharply written, briskly directed, superbly cast and well played from top to bottom. Watching this is a great way to stay cheerful on a rainy evening indoors.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most extraordinary comedies of all time, 5 Aug 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
With Howard Hawks in the director's chair and Cary Grant in the lead role, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. His Girl Friday isn't the first or last film adaptation of the 1928 play The Front Page, but it is easily the best. This thing comes at you a mile a minute, with dialogue that starts out at break-neck speed and never slows down and more humorous moments than you can find time to laugh at. It's an unusual romantic comedy, given the fact that Cary Grant's character is a little less than noble (he is a rather ruthless newspaper man, after all) and the nice guy in the picture is lucky to finish at all, but there's still something endearing about the whole relationship between Walter Burns (Grant) and his former ace reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), who also happens to be his ex-wife (in earlier adaptations of the story, Hildy was just a darn good male reporter). Hildy is due to get married in less than 24 hours, and Burns is desperate to win her back - for the newspaper as well as himself. The big city proves most cooperative in his endeavors, with a corrupt sheriff and mayor getting set to hang a "dangerous" little man for murder in order to bolster their bids for reelection in three days. And that's only the beginning of this screwball comedy story. This battle of the sexes turns into one of the most impressive battles of wits the big screen has ever seen, and the whole wild and crazy story makes for an extraordinary experience.
Grant and Russell demonstrate remarkable chemistry together, which is a necessity given the fact that their characters are divorced and know each other's ways so well. Poor Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), Hildy's mild-manner fiancé, is overwhelmed by the charm and manipulations of the remarkable Walter Burns. Even Hildy falls prey to his spontaneously elaborate schemes, finding herself agreeing to do one last story before leaving the newspaper business for good. That story, about a timid little man guilty of shooting a policeman whose forthcoming execution is being exploited as a triumph of law and order over anarchists and Reds, explodes in the hours leading up to the scheduled hanging, as the murderer escapes and ultimately provides the paper with a scoop that even the imaginative Burns could hardly have engineered on his own.
I could try to describe the story in more detail, but there's little purpose in doing so. His Girl Friday is all about the dialogue. There are more words spoken during this ninety-minute film than you will find in any handful of other motion pictures. Grant and Russell really are remarkable, as most scenes go on for many minutes without either actor breaking stride. All of the minor characters jump in and out at the same unstoppable pace, and many are the times multiple characters are speaking to different people simultaneously. This is nothing less than an elaborate circus of vocalization, and it is all you as the viewer can do to keep up with everything that is going on. Burns and Hildy may have little time to think, but that doesn't stop them from unleashing words of great wit, innuendo, sarcasm, comic genius, and even a couple of in-jokes one on top of the other. Meanwhile, the script becomes much more complicated than I expected, as the murderer awaiting the gallows escapes, the corruption of the police and local government is made manifest, a woman tries to kill herself, and Hildy's husband-to-be and his mother find themselves victimized by Burns' ruthless schemes to keep Hildy right where she belongs.
His Girl Friday is an inspired example of moviemaking at its best, a classic that demands multiple viewings and loses none of its edge over the ensuing decades since its 1940 release. Not only is the film a real hoot to watch, it's a strange sort of pleasure to sit back and enjoy a host of extraordinary actors performing at the very tops of their games. It takes accomplished actors to handle the intensity and sheer volume of dialogue that defines this film. His Girl Friday truly is one of the most impressive and extraordinary comedies ever made.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best..., 26 April 2011
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] (DVD)
No-one does fast-talking comedy like Cary Grant. Always just on the edge of going overboard but never quite falling, he would be reason enough to watch this film. Add a wonderful script, Rosalind Russell in full feisty mode, Howard Hawks' flawless direction, and a great group of supporting actors and you've got a sure-fire winner.

Ace reporter Hildy Johnson (Russell) decides to throw up journalism in favour of marriage to her strait-laced fiancé played by Ralph Bellamy. This doesn't fit at all with the plans of her former editor and coincidentally former husband, Walter Burns (Grant). He asks her to cover one last story, hoping to revive both her journalistic instincts and their relationship.

While the battle of the sexes storyline is a little dated (and not true to the original play, The Front Page, in which Hildy was in fact male), the careless way the journalists are willing to manipulate and exploit ordinary people in pursuit of a good story still resonates strongly. This is black comedy at its best.

Treat yourself - watch this film as a double-bill with Arsenic and Old Lace [DVD] and then tell me if you don't agree Grant is one of the true greats.
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Probably the worst DVD ever !, 16 Oct 2000
By A Customer
What a travesty the DVD of 'His Girl Friday' release is - so much so that it must rank among the worst DVDs ever released onto the unsuspecting Region 2 market. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way criticising the film itself - simply the ineffective and downright lazy DVD transfer.
One only has to look at the likes of the recent releases of 'The Big Sleep' and 'Casablanca' to see what can be done with all-time classic movies. Ok, neither of these titles is packed with extras, which many would see as a crime in itself, but the picture and sound quality are superb considering the vintage of their original release and is a testament to those involved in the transfer to DVD. This is especially gratifying when one realises that although these titles are often cited as 'top 10 greats', they will have a limited audience among the 'Matrix' and 'Men In Black' fans and therefore will ultimately be monetarily less successful.
However, even an admittedly limited audience appeal cannot excuse the complete lack of effort put into this release. Not only does it have no extras ( which on a film of this age is perhaps excusable ) but the picture and sound are so terrible that an old VHS copy I have actually rivals it for quality - this is especially telling due to the fact that my VHS copy was recorded off-air on long-play on a very cheap tape ( in fact I think that this DVD must have been taken from a similar source ).
As a fan of classic films I purchased this DVD with great pleasure that a distribution company would have taken the trouble to release one of the greats - what I didn't bank on was the fact that I could only stand to watch this title for around 5 mins before I had to switch it off and resort to my VHS copy - where at least the hiss didn't drown out every bit of dialogue.
In short, my advice to anyone who is a fan of this film ( or DVD in general ) is to vote with your feet and avoid this DVD like the plague !
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this version!, 24 Feb 2004
By 
Music lover (Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
I bought this version via a special offer run by the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the UK and am now returning it for a refund.
The film (or as much of it as we saw!) seems to deserve all the praise it has received. However, there are many different DVD versions on the market, as you can see here on Amazon, and this particular one should be avoided like the plague!
The transfer is poor, with a rather out of focus quality. There are no options whatsoever. No subtitles. No scene selection. No extra features. The DVD menu only allows you to play the movie and nothing else.
To make it even worse, my copy played about half way through then the picture started to break up and after a minute or so of this behaviour it just jumped back to the beginning. Obviously, I can't say if this particular defect applies to all copies.
Feedback on this site suggests that the Columbia Classics DVD might be a much better buy - and I will probably now get this version.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Comedy finally gets Great DVD, 17 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
This has to be one of the finest comedies ever made. Fast, sharp and witty, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell have one of the best fights ever on the war of the sexes.
There were at least another previous release of this film in DVD, but the film quality was quite bad, and there were no extras, subtitles or even scene selection! Finally with this edition it gets the DVD treatment it deserves: the picture has been clean up and probably restored and the sound is great. Columbia is taking great care with their classics, an example that other studios should follow.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a truly brilliant comedy, 2 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
This has to be one of the best comedies of all times. Fast paced, witty and brilliant acted it is simply brilliant. Cary Grant plays an editor willing to do anything not to lose his best reporter and ex-wife Rosalind Russell. This is a battle of sexes at its best.
The DVD edition is great. A previous DVD release was quite bad: my old VHS copy taped from TV looked and sounded much better. Fortunatly Columbia has decided to take care of its treasures and has release a proper DVD. The film has been restored and there a couple of interesting extras.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime "Girl Friday", 30 Oct 2014
This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
"His Girl Friday" is simply one of "golden age" Hollywood's greatest treasures, one of the smartest, sassiest screen comedies of all time.
Silver screen idol Cary Grant stars as Walter Burns, a conniving New York newspaper editor who'll stop at nothing to beat his rivals to a scoop. There's a politically sensitive "death row" case playing out, and Walter desperately needs his star reporter and ex-wife Hildy (Rosalind Russell) to cover this hot potato of a story. She's equally determined to quit the newspaper rat race for a life of domestic tranquility in the sticks with the new man in her life. Cue a battle of wits and battle of the sexes in the finest tradition of "screwball" comedy as Walter does his scheming best to throw a spanner in the works.
It's doubtful if there'll ever be another comedy as fast and as furious as this one; the pace is relentless, with machine gun dialogue. You could see it twenty times or more and it's a fair bet that you'd still miss some of the gags in its razor sharp script. The performances of everyone, from principals to bit part players, are pitch perfect, with some miraculous comic timing and dexterity on display. Grant and Russell strike sparks of each other in a dazzling display of on screen chemistry, and there's a wonderfully droll study in dullness from Ralph Bellamy as Hildy's fiance. Director Howard Hawks displays total mastery of the genre, effortlessly pulling all the strings to deliver a piece of inspired mayhem to delight us over and over again. Utterly sublime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You're a reporter, 28 Jun 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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Howard Hawks was responsible for a lot of outstanding movies, like "The Big Sleep" and "Bringing Up Baby."

But one of his best was wild, witty screwball comedy "His Girl Friday," which has never quite gotten the same recognition as those better known films. It has razor-sharp, bullet-fast dialogue, a hilarious plot and Cary Grant as (once more) a divorced man who won't give up so easily. You'll never look at a rolltop desk the same way again.

Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) comes into her ex-husband's newspaper office. Walter (Cary Grant) is ready to give her her old job -- until she announces that she's marrying a nice, dull insurance agent (Ralph Bellamy). Walter insists that Hildy can't just go to Albany and be a housewife, and she insists that that's exactly what she wants.

So the wily ex bribes Hildy to cover a sensational cop-killing case -- the convicted man is scheduled to be executed in the morning -- and takes the opportunity to make life difficult for her fiancee. Now Hildy tries to get the facts behind the cop-shooting, while battling with a corrupt mayor who wants the convicted man dead. Is the sordid world of journalism -- and Walter -- what Hildy really wants? Looks like it.

Sometimes even if people don't get along, they fit so perfectly that trying to get together with someone else is pointless -- just look at Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedick. Personally I've never experienced that kind of love (yet), but I've seen couples who do work the way Hildy and Walter do. Howard Hawks captures the feel of such couples perfectly.

In addition to the screwball romance, Hawks mixes in a cop-killing, a prison break, an attempted suicide, a conspiracy for mayoral votes, and a lot of reporters slavering for a hit story. It's a tight, taut little story peppered with humor, like the convict in the roll-top desk, or Bellamy's imperious mother being dragged out of the building.

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell have electric chemistry in this movie, from the first scene right to the finale. It's a shame that they apparently didn't collaborate on any other movies, because in terms of comedy skill, they fit as snugly as two pieces of a puzzle -- they jabber together, trade fast barbs, and lob insults that don't pierce each other's skin.

Their dialogue is as fast as their wits: "I wish you hadn't done that, Hildy." "Done what?" "Divorced me. It makes a man feel he's not wanted!" And on the sidelines, Bellamy has an amusing role as the rather slow-witted fiancee whom Grant charms and then gets arrested. Interestingly, Bellamy played the same role in "Awful Truth," another Grant movie about a divorced guy trying to win his ex-wife...

"His Girl Friday" is one of those classic movies that leaves you with a warm glow and a cynical chuckle. Hilarious from start to finish, especially with Grant and Russell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling Dialogue, 4 Oct 2013
By 
John Liddle (Allerwash, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: His Girl Friday [DVD] (DVD)
Cary Grant at his sophisticated best as a scheming newspaper editor using an imminent execution to get his estranged wife back. The newspapermen and the police are portrayed as moral bankrupts, cynically seeking their own advantage from a tragic situation yet even this is handled with such a light touch that the comedy is not tarnished and the plot is skilfully moved to an ending where justice is done and the right man gets the girl. And since the girl is Rosalind Russell she's worth getting.
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His Girl Friday [DVD]
His Girl Friday [DVD] by Howard Hawks (DVD - 2011)
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