Manipulating The Message
UK Premiere: The Front Page PG
|Sat 29 July||14:30 Intro|
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The newspaper film - with its breakneck dialogue, hardboiled characters and rampant cynicism - was born when Howard Hughes hired Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front) to direct this classic (and perhaps the earliest) screwball comedy.
It follows the misadventures of Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien), a tabloid reporter trying to get out of the newspaper game and escape to New York with his fiancee just as the story of a lifetime lands in his lap. Hildy's editor Walter Burns (Adolphe Menjou) tries to lure him back with the chance to cover a sensational execution, but when the pair stumble across the now-escaped (and bewildered) accused murderer, they put him into hiding. Can they keep his whereabouts secret long enough in order to get the scoop?
This hilarious Broadway smash would be made into multiple film versions (including Howard Hawk's His Girl Friday and Billy Wilder's version) but this, Milestone's original, remains the high-water mark.
With thanks to the Academy Film Archive for providing us with a DCP, restored in 2016 in 4K by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation with funding provided by George Lucas Family Foundation, from a 35mm safety composite print and sound on disc elements from the Academy Film Archives (Howard Hughes Collection).