My Thoughts On… His Girl Friday

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to the section titled Why Should You See This Film? where you will find no spoilers!


A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • His Girl Friday is funny, and very, very quick. It’s the ultimate in wisecracking, screwball comedy, and I really enjoyed it. The pace is just so quick, I feel as though I need to watch it again to make sure I picked up on all the jokes. The characters talk over each other, which makes it feel real, like really watching what it must have been like in a newsroom in the forties.
  • Hildy is a great forties female. She is in a world where she is completely outnumbered by men, yet she completely holds her own and doesn’t let herself be bullied out of a story. In the original play, the character was a man, but making her a woman really works. Walter is trying to stop her remarrying, but it’s not just because he’s her ex-husband and he’s jealous. He genuinely doesn’t want to lose his best reporter from his newspaper, and although, somewhat predictably, they end the film together, I think he’s more pleased that he’s managed to keep hold of a member of staff!
  • Ralph Bellamy plays the fiancé of Rosalind Russell’s character, and I think he’s the best character in the whole piece, because he plays it completely straight, while chaos erupts around him, and he is dragged into the various nefarious schemes that Cary Grant’s character employs whilst trying to ensure that Hildy doesn’t leave for Albany.
  • There are two inside jokes in this film, but such is the breakneck pace of the dialogue that I only caught one. Walter, played by Cary Grant, makes reference to someone called Archie Leach, which is Grant’s real name. There was another off the cuff reference made to “that guy in the movies, Bellamy.” Ralph Bellamy stars as Bruce Baldwin, but I didn’t catch that one until I read about it afterwards.
  • The film somehow manages to balance all of the screwball comedy with some pretty serious subjects, including murder, capital punishment and suicide, and it does so really well.
  • There are a couple of scenes involving Billy Gilbert, playing a character called Joe Pettibone. He’s obviously not the sharpest tool in the box, and his scenes are played for maximum humour, and really made me laugh.
  • At 92 minutes, this film is the perfect length. Why can’t modern films take a page out of the past and start making films that are under two hours?



What I Didn’t Like

  • There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about His Girl Friday!

Why Should I See This Film?

I would recommend this film to anyone that has a liking for a screwball comedy, because I think this is the ultimate. Rosalind Russell is truly magnificent, and for a film from the forties, she’s a pretty great icon of female empowerment as Hildy! Cary Grant is always, always worth a watch, and there are genuinely funny laugh out loud moments. Also, it’s only 92 minutes of your life, so it’s definitely worth a try!


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