Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant chase (and create) the news  in the 1940 film His Girl Friday. 

 Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant chase (and create) the news  in the 1940 film His Girl Friday. 

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/NYT

I'll have the pleasure of introducing Howard Hawks' classic newspaper comedy His Girl Friday 3 p.m. Sunday at City Performance Hall. It's a pleasure because this is one of my favorite movies, a rat-a-tat screwball comedy that thrives on the anarchic spirit of the best Golden Age laughers. 

The newspaper movies of the '30s and '40s  sailed on a sea of dubious ethics and verbal adrenaline (think of any number of cut-away sequences in the films of Frank Capra). This one tops them all. Cary Grant is the weasel editor trying to get back his best reporter, who also happens to be his ex-wife. Rosalind Russell goes word for word with the master. Ralph Bellamy is the poor straight man who can't keep up. 

His Girl Friday is based on the earlier play and movie The Front Page.  The redux is better, largely because it adds an element of sexual tension and makes the workaholic reporter a woman instead of a man - a woman who's great at what she does and never really convinces herself she's ready to walk away and get married to a milquetoast. Like so many screwball comedies, His Girl Friday packs a feminist punch. 

The screening is free, part of the Dallas Film Society's Sunset Screenings series. You can RSVP here. Hope to see you there.  

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