Sunday, November 8, 2009
His Girl Friday - My Favorite Movie Of All Time
I figured that since His Girl Friday is my favorite movie of all time, I need to write a blog about it and explain why. I saw it for the first time when I was 12 years old and it immediately struck me as the best movie I had seen in my young life at the time. It would keep with me over the years and stay as my favorite movie, withstanding the new releases with all their hi tech fancy stuff like the Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones, and others. For me, there is nothing better than His Girl Friday and watching Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell play off each other.
Cary Grant is never better as newspaper editor Walter Burns, who is about to lose his ace reporter and ex-wife Hildy Johnson (a superb performance by Rosalind Russell) to marriage to an insurance man (Ralph Bellamy). Just so happens a major news story breaks as convicted murderer Earl Williams, who is about to be put to death, escapes from custody. Walter convinces Hildy to take this last job assignment and he will sign a nice big check for an insurance policy for the soon to be wed couple. During her investigation, Hildy manages to track down Williams and tries to keep him safe from the police and the mayor. A wonderful mix of comedy and some drama make this my all time favorite film. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell make a terrific dream team. The one liners fly fast and furious, expertly handled by the entire cast. Great direction by the legendary Howard Hawks.
A sampling of the fast paced dialogue that has amazed me for over 27 years:
Walter Burns: Sorta wish you hadn't done that, Hildy.
Hildy Johnson: Done what?
Walter Burns: Divorced me. Makes a fella lose all faith in himself. Gives him a... almost gives him a feeling he wasn't wanted.
Hildy Johnson: Oh, now look, junior... that's what divorces are FOR!
Wilson, reporter: Any dope on how he escaped?
McCue, reporter: Maybe the sheriff let him out so Williams could vote for him.
Hildy Johnson: [speaking to Walter on the phone] Now, get this, you double-crossing chimpanzee: There ain't going to be any interview and there ain't going to be any story. And that certified check of yours is leaving with me in twenty minutes. I wouldn't cover the burning of Rome for you if they were just lighting it up. If I ever lay my two eyes on you again, I'm gonna walk right up to you and hammer on that monkeyed skull of yours 'til it rings like a Chinese gong!
Louis: What's the matter, Hildy?
Hildy Johnson: Don't give me that innocent stuff! What did you pull on Mr. Baldwin THIS time?
Louis: Who, me?
Hildy Johnson: Yes, you and that albino of yours!
Louis: You talkin' about Evangeline?
Hildy Johnson: None other!
Louis: She ain't no albino.
Hildy Johnson: She'll do 'till one comes along!
Louis: She was born right here in this country!
So to wrap this blog up let me just say that His Girl Friday is THE movie for me. Cary Grant's other classic movie, Bringing Up Baby is a close second, but His Girl Friday holds that special place in my heart. To all classic movie lovers out there, if by some small chance you have never seen this movie, take time to watch it somewhere, somehow and I promise you will not regret it.