“His Girl Friday” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 6
“Walter, you’re wonderful, in a loathsome sort of way.”
Man, people talked fast in the 1940s.
The appeal of this film is all on the swindling Walter (Cary Grant) and the dame who’s a “paper man” through and through, Hildy (Rosalind Russell). Their banter and back and forth bickering as the recently divorced work colleagues form the glue that holds the whole picture together.
It’s a little tiring hearing everyone talking over each other constantly, but it works both in the context of the characters (fast-talking newspaper reporters) and their motivations – both trying to argue themselves into and out of each other’s lives. The pacing is lightning-quick, and the plot humorously splits between a woman desperately trying to leave her work behind and settle down and a jealous ex pulling her back to scoop the biggest story of her career.
It’s very hard not to like this movie, and it makes you wonder why modern comedies don’t try for something like it anymore. It’s a style that could easily work in a modern setting – it wouldn’t have to be quite as breakneck, but it could certainly take a lot of cues on how to deliver a scene. Tarantino famously loves this film, and it’s easy to see why considering how dialogue-centric his films are.
They could remake this – easily. Put Lizzy Caplan in as Hildy and Edward Norton as Walter. There’s your picture.
His Girl Friday was at the time of this review at #34 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #101 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
His Girl Friday vs. Mary Poppins
It’s hard not to like Mary Poppins, too, and the animation, dancing, and songs are all top-notch. Despite all that, it’s not quite as a good as His Girl Friday, though.
His Girl Friday vs. Finding Nemo
Pixar’s always tough competition, and Nemo will take the match here for its vibrantly colored scenes, intelligent storytelling, and effects wizardry.
His Girl Friday vs. Life or Something Like It
Odd that this film would come up since it has Jolie playing a TV reporter. I recall very little about Life or Something Like It It, so I’m going to give this battle to His Girl Friday.
His Girl Friday vs. Noah
I’m an Aronofsky nut, and Noah isn’t a bad film, but it is his worst. Jennifer Connelly is excellent in it, and there’s some very pretty cinematography, but it’s kind of a messy film. I bet it’s more to do with the studio futzing with it than it was Aronofsky’s fault. Anyhow, His Girl Friday will win this one.
His Girl Friday vs. Young Adult
BIG fan of Young Adult. I’ve liked all the Jason Reitman films I’ve seen, and this one’s no exception. The characters are complex, unpredictable, and both likable and horrible simultaneously. It’s definitely going to win over His Girl Friday.
His Girl Friday vs. Octopussy
I like Bond flicks, and Roger Moore’s silliness is fun, but I admit His Girl Friday is even more fun.
His Girl Friday vs. That Thing You Do
Tough one! That Thing You Do is really well done, and tugs at the heartstrings in ways you don’t expect. It’s not quite as tightly wound like a firecracker as His Girl Friday is, so it’s not going to win – but it’s close!
His Girl Friday vs. Short Circuit
Nostalgia is back to take the prize. It’s a silly story about a robot that came out when I was 7 years old. I haven’t seen it again since, so my memory is surely putting it on a higher pedestal than it perhaps should, but I can only go on what I know. I know I loved Short Circuit.
His Girl Friday vs. The Matrix Revolutions
I’ll be the first one to say that I think the Matrix sequel haters are part of a collective mob, ready with their pitchforks to unfairly decry a lot of talent on display. There are some really cool things in Revolutions, and it gets way too much flak. It’s not what people expected, and The Wachowskis continue to deliver exactly that – the unexpected. I will concede, however, that it has some serious issues as a standalone film, so His Girl Friday will beat it.
His Girl Friday vs. Chinatown
There were some things I liked about Chinatown, but there were more things I didn’t. Pacing was one of them, and His Girl Friday has pacing down flat. It’ll take the last matchup.
His Girl Friday is now ranked #390 out of 1368 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Up next is Persona and Le Samurai. Why don’t you take a look at the other films I’ve ranked in the challenge thus far.