The 1940 film His Girl Friday is often described as one of the best screwball comedies ever made. Howard Hawks has succeeded in making this film a classic; the movie always being referenced as one of the best in its genre. Though this success, of course, was made possible by the teamwork of all the people who participated in the film, mostly, it was Hawks’ auteur vision that guaranteed the film’s triumph. His Girl Friday is actually a remake of Lewis Milestone’s The Front Page (1931).
Hawks treated the original film differently by making a gender swap of one of the main characters in the film. The character Hildegard Johnson (played by Rosalind Russell) is actually a male lead reporter in the first movie; Hawks revamped the entire story by making the character in the second film a woman, adding a love angle to the film’s plot. Hawks’ auteur vision made it possible to twist the entire film, adding flavor to its narrative form.
Hawks’ decision to make a gender swap in the film was one of the formulas that led to its critical success. After seeing His Girl Friday, it is almost hard to imagine Hildy as a guy as he was one in the original movie, especially that the cast had done a good job in making their characters as realistic as possible. Not only that it added an entire new sub-plot to the film, the gender swap also added spice in the sense that it ensured the advancement of actions in each scene.
But perhaps the one thing most noticeable about the film is its speed – the witty, overlapping and almost spontaneous exchange of dialogues between characters (Bordwell and Thompson 385). The fast-paced plot that makes its audience gasping for air in each of its scenes, everything gearing up to meet its deadline, is perhaps the greatest thing in the movie. Technically, the plot is simple, and yet Hawks managed to bring life out of its simplicity by bringing much energy into the film.
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