The Front Page

1974

Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance

59
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 73%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 73%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 10270

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Susan Sarandon as Peggy Grant
Jack Lemmon as Hildy Johnson
Walter Matthau as Walter Burns
Carol Burnett as Mollie Malloy
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
811.21 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 45 min
P/S 2 / 15
1.64 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 45 min
P/S 7 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moonspinner55 4 / 10

Rather crass rewrite of oft-filmed comedy about journalism and ethics...

Director/screenwriter Billy Wilder and his co-scenarist I.A.L. Diamond give Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's lickety-split stage comedy (as well as the two previous film versions) a PG-rated rewrite. This time the story is specifically set in Chicago, 1929, but the squabbles are the same between the newspaper editor and his ace reporter over coverage of the execution of an anarchist who accidentally shot a cop. Though the material has been shaped to benefit the star-leads, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, both uneasily cast, don't seem to have any love for this milieu or, curiously enough, for each other. The insults rain down at top volume, but the laughs are few and far between. The supporting performances are far preferable; the camaraderie between the poker-playing reporters (Allen Garfield, Charles Durning and Herb Edelman among them), awaiting their next scoop, gives the early moments of the picture some bounce, and Carol Burnett does a good job as a luckless tramp (despite reports she hated her own performance). Susan Sarandon also fine in small role as Lemmon's fiancée, though this may be the only time in movies that Jack gets lost in the shuffle. It's mostly Wilder's fault, of course, but Lemmon--not convincing for a second as a crack reporter--is slack-faced and joyless throughout. The production is handsome, and Billy May's adapted ragtime music is infectious, but did we really need this story again--expletives and all? ** from ****

Reviewed by SimonJack 6 / 10

This remake loses much of the humor and satire

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau would seem to most movie buffs to be a perfect pair to play the leads in a remake of the 1931 comedy film, "The Front Page." And, had director Billy Wilder and Universal Pictures decided to do an authentic remake, I think it would have worked. But instead, they took a 1928 story, updated the script to 1974 and kept the story in 1928. And they failed to consider some other things. The result is a mediocre film, at best. The only thing that earns it six stars from me is the fine acting by Matthau as Walter Burns and a couple of supporting cast performances. Lemmon's Hildy Johnson isn't much better than Pat O'Brien's seemingly tame performance in the 1931 movie. Otherwise, the script is slower and riddled with profanity in place of the overlapping, fast dialog with digs.

Other reviewers who compare versions include the 1940 "His Girl Friday," that starred Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. That film pepped up the roles, and switched the lead of Hildy from male to female. But it kept it in the exact same setting. Some other things that were added helped set "His Girl Friday" apart from "The Front Page" of 1931 with its successive remakes. As so many others, I also think the 1940 film excels and is head and shoulders above the lot.

But for this review, and understanding where this film falls short, one must look to the original work – the 1928 stage play and the 1931 screenplay. In this remake, the dialog and mannerisms of the people in the press room of the Chicago criminal courts building have a tone of bitterness. In the 1931 film, it was more of an uncaring detachment and humor among the cynical members of the press. The official characters in the Hecht and MacArthur play were written as funny, buffoonery roles. They came across that way in the 1931 film, but in this version they are more serious and sinister. And, here the script is slower and riddled with profanity in place of the faster, overlapping dialog with digs.

The biggest change from the original is in the press itself and its image with the public. The news media is front and center throughout the story. The press of the 1920s-1930s had a lot of clout. Yellow journalism, which had reached its peak in the late 1900s, had a resurgence in the Roaring Twenties with prohibition and the rise of organized crime. Sensationalism to the point of fiction overruled straight, factual reporting in "news stories." But the public ate this stuff up. And the papers competed, not only to see who could get the scoop (be first with a breaking story), but which paper could make it the most sensational.

By 1974, the American press had undergone a metamorphosis. The regular press didn't have the clout of its former days, but since WW II it had come to be more highly regarded. The public, business and government all generally had respect for the press. This was at the height of the American public's trust in the news media. Alas, the media would once again, by its own volition, lose the public esteem and trust by the end of 20th the century. But, for this 1974 film to go over with its audience – with a script written in and for 1929 America, it needed the comedy and lampooning of the press and the political officials to be clear. Instead, much of the satire and humor is lost in the undertone of bitterness and seriousness.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 6 / 10

His Girl Friday the best

It's 1929 Chicago. Hildy Johnson (Jack Lemmon) is the top reporter in his paper but he's quitting to marry Peggy Grant (Susan Sarandon) in Philidelphia. His editor Walter Burns (Walter Matthau) works to stop him with lies and schemes. Walter wants Hildy to cover the hanging of cop killer Earl Williams.

Billy Wilder adapts the play, the most famous film adaptation being 'His Girl Friday'(40). The dialog is rapid-fire. By returning Hildy to being a man, the intensity is lost. It loses a compelling dimension to the movie. It's not as much fun despite having Lemmon and Matthau. They don't have enough screen time together. When they're together, the energy goes up noticeably. Without the duo together, the movie feels flat.

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