Friday, December 11, 2009

His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday, 1940
Dir: Howard Hawks
December 10, 2009

I think I said earlier that there might be some better screwball comedies out there than the few that I have seen. While this is probably a better film than the earlier efforts (objectively speaking), I still just really didn't like it all that much. I suppose that it all comes down again to my sense of humor and this not being funny enough more of the time. It actually got a few chuckles out of me, and has one of the snarkiest jokes ever (When some asks Cary Grant what Craig Bellamy's character looks like, he says "Oh you know...that actor, Craig Bellamy."), but it's pretty boring. The whole battle of the sexes thing didn't make me bat an eye, and Rosalind Russell was pretty annoying as ex-wife who can't get away. Grant was in his great cock-sure mode as a newspaper editor, but even some of his zingers fall flat. Some of the best stuff in the film comes from others who only surround the main duo, like the press room guys who always have something clever to say. Hawks' style is always evident and there is again nothing you can fault in the composition or pacing, so you have to go to the story, which is just not very fun, which it is supposed to be. This gets a lot of attention because of the lightning-paced dialogue, but also because Hawks and the screenwriters wrote a lot of the dialogue so that people would start talking and arguing over each other, you know, "like people do in real life." I think it was an observation that Hawks made about life that was well in-tune with his own sense of naturalism and how it could mesh with cinema. Not that it helps the story out a whole lot, but it certainly led to some of the better comedy bits. I hate to say it, but Screwball is lame.


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