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His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy drama romance film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and featuring Ralph Bellamy and Gene Lockhart. It was released by Columbia Pictures. The plot centers on a newspaper editor named Walter Burns who is about to lose his ace reporter and ex-wife Hildy Johnson, newly engaged to another man. Burns suggests they cover one more story together, getting themselves entangled in the case of murderer Earl Williams as Burns desperately tries to win back his wife. The screenplay was adapted from the 1928 play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. This was the second time the play had been adapted for the screen, the first occasion being the 1931 film also called The Front Page.

Plot

Walter Burns (Cary Grant) is a hard-boiled editor for The Morning Post who learns his ex-wife and former star reporter, Hildegard "Hildy" Johnson (Rosalind Russell), is about to marry bland insurance man Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) and settle down to a quiet life as a wife and mother in Albany, New York. Walter determines to sabotage these plans, enticing the reluctant Hildy to cover one last story, the upcoming execution of Earl Williams (John Qualen) a shy bookkeeper convicted of murdering an African-American policeman. Walter insists Hildy and her fiancé Bruce join him for lunch. At the restaurant, Hildy insists that she and Bruce will be leaving in two hours to take a night train to Albany to be married the following day. Walter attempts to convince Bruce that Hildy is the only one who can write a story to save wrongly convicted Earl Williams. After several attempts through deceit and lies to convince Hildy to stay, Hildy eventually agrees on the condition that Walter buys a $100,000 life insurance policy from Bruce in order to receive the $1,000 commission. In the meantime, Hildy bribes the jail warden to let her interview Earl Williams in jail. Williams explains that he shot the police officer by accident. Hildy uses economic theory to explain the murder of the cop to Williams, insisting that he shot the gun because of production for use.

Awards