The Front Page

1931

Action / Comedy

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 63%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 1626

Synopsis


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January 10, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Cast

Clark Gable as Reporter with hat at table in the prison.
Adolphe Menjou as Walter Burns
Mae Clarke as Molly
720p 1080p
719.69 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 0 / 3
1.52 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 3 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

The Granddaddy of all newspaper films

Although Howard Hawks gave The Front Page a different twist by making Hildy Johnson a woman and giving her a romantic involvement with editor Walter Burns, The Front Page still holds up well today for its biting wit.

All the clichés about newspapers as portrayed on film originate with this work. Lewis Milestone assembled a great cast of character actors as the gang in the press room and the lines they toss back and forth at each other are priceless. Even better were some of the lines at the expense of the self important political and law enforcement figures they cover.

I suppose it's the nature of the job that makes newsmen cynical. But this group takes it to an exponential level. Frank Capra did something very similar in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. When newly appointed interim Senator James Stewart arrives in town and they make him out a buffoon, Stewart goes around punching out all of them he can find. When he does reach the Capitol Press Room, the whole group of them Thomas Mitchell, Jack Carson, Charles Lane, etc. bring him up quite short. That group of correspondents could easily have been in the press room in The Front Page. I have no doubt that Capra was inspired by Milestone's work in The Front Page.

The casting of the leads is quite a story. Pat O'Brien had played Walter Burns on stage and someone in the Howard Hughes organization got their wires crossed and signed him for Hildy Johnson. O'Brien made the switch effortlessly though.

Lewis Milestone originally wanted Louis Wolheim with whom he'd worked the year before in All Quiet on the Western Front. But then Wolheim died suddenly right before filming was to start. Adolphe Menjou was hurriedly substituted and he proved to be an inspired choice.

When The Front Page was done on the Broadway stage the roles of Johnson and Burns were played by Lee Tracy and Osgood Perkins. I could see either of them in their respective parts. Both got to Hollywood, but too late to do either part for the screen.

The two female roles of note were Johnson's fiancé Peggy and the streetwalker who had befriended convicted killer George E. Stone who's execution the reporters are covering. Mae Clarke as the prostitute is just fine. A tough year for Mae, she jumps through a window here and gets slugged with a grapefruit later on in Public Enemy.

Mary Brian is the fiancé and in an underwritten part, she's dull as dishwater. Not her fault because the film is about the guys. But seeing this, no wonder Howard Hawks got the inspired idea to eliminate her, create THE Ralph Bellamy part and make Hildy Johnson a woman for His Girl Friday.

Of course The Front Page has the look and feel of the era that birthed it. But the portrait of newspapermen is still fresh and the issues raised about crooked politicians running on "law and order" platforms is probably even more relevant today than back then.

Reviewed by preppy-3 8 / 10

Very good

Newspaperman Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien) is quitting the business and getting married to Peggy (Mary Brian). But his unscrupulous boss Walter Burns(Adolphe Menjou) doesn't want him to quit. Also an innocent man is about to be hanged and Burns will do anything to make sure Johnson works on that story.

Fast and funny--the first cinematic version of this story. It shows its age at times and some of it is wildly overacted but O'Brien and Menjou are both just great in their roles. Also director Lewis Milestone uses some very unusual camera tricks to keep the story moving and there's lots of action and running around which is unusual for an early talkie.

This was remade in 1940 with a sex change making Johnson a woman. That was "His Girl Friday" with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. That one is better than this but this is better than the 1974 version (that had Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) and 1988 remake called "Switching Channels" (with Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds). They're all good to varying degrees but this one came first. Worth seeing.

Reviewed by ytbufflo-1 10 / 10

A+ A visionary masterpiece!!!

The camera-work on this underrated beauty is breathtaking - one of the panning shots in the newsroom precedes Woody Allen's restaurant pan shot in Hannah and Her Sisters by over half a century! It is so organic, yet so breezy and alive. Don't miss the clever panning action with the gun sequence, and the mirrored room with the man getting off the elevator, which is also a throw-away gem. The actors are some of the finest character and bit players ever assembled on screen and the lightning dialog and clever editing is really quite modern in its speed and ingenuity.

I too am a devoted fan of His Girl Friday, but these are two very different films. Front Page is a masterpiece of old school ensemble character acting, and without it to break new ground, I don't believe His Girl Friday would have had nearly the breakneck pacing and out of the bottle genius that it is rightfully remembered for. The Front Page should take an esteemed place in film history for being the fertile breeding ground of screwball comedy in general and many of its masterpieces, including His Girl Friday, in particular. A must see for 1930's film buffs and screwball comedy fanatics!

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