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The Front Page

The Front Page is a 1974 American black comedy-drama film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The screenplay by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond is based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1928 play of the same name, which inspired several other films and televised movies and series episodes.

Plot

Chicago Examiner reporter Hildebrand "Hildy" Johnson (Jack Lemmon) has just quit his job in order to marry Peggy Grant (Susan Sarandon) and start a new career, when convict Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton) escapes from death row just prior to his execution. Earl is an impoverished, bumbling leftist whose only offense is stuffing fortune cookies with messages demanding the release of Sacco and Vanzetti, but the yellow press of Chicago has painted him as a dangerous threat from Moscow. As a result, the citizenry are anxious to see him put to death.