849 His Girl Friday

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movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#51 Post by movielocke » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:40 am

watched this for the first time in fifteen years. Goddamn, I remembered it moved fast but I feel exhausted now, I cannot believe how much dialog and plot they packed into 90 minutes. Tremendously fun and constantly surprising. If it hadn't been for the newsletter clue I would have completely forgotten about the mock turtle!

The david bordwell feature is outstanding, and the little bit they did with the bogdanovich interview is pretty outstanding as well. Love the split screen in the latter.

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zedz
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#52 Post by zedz » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:27 pm

I watched The Front Page for the first time the other night, and it's weird coming to the original after so many decades familiarity with the remake, as there are elements (such as the guy with the reprieve) that just don't seem right to me outside the context of screwball comedy. And the central relationship just doesn't crackle enough without the distaff twist. It was very enjoyable anyway, and I wasn't prepared for just how visually dynamic it was. The camera is always on the move, tracking, panning, tilting, with dozens of extremely inventive shots. There was one bravura tracking shot in particular that I just couldn't figure out.

Menjou and O'Brien walk into a bar and the camera pans with them from the door as they brush past it to sit at the bar. The camera continues to pan to catch them sitting down at the bar in the mirror, then continues the shot with a frontal two-shot of the pair talking, in the mirror. There's no trace of the camera in the mirror, and the obvious explanation is that the final composition is not a mirror shot at all, but a doubled set with the pair shot through the non-existent mirror, but that doesn't work with the first part of the shot, where they're on the other side of the 'mirror' a split-second before. The only explanation I can come up with is an impeccable travelling wipe as the camera pans from the doorway to the bar, while the actors are momentarily out of the frame. Which seems like a huge amount of work for a single shot. Does anybody have a more plausible explanation (or - can anybody see how this could be an actual mirror shot)?

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#53 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:38 am

zedz wrote:...Does anybody have a more plausible explanation (or - can anybody see how this could be an actual mirror shot)?
The camera movement and blocking are startling for a film from the early sound era. The bar shot, however, is not as complicated as it seems: the camera is tracking left and panning at the same time; by the time the mirror is in view, the camera is already past the mirror and is framing the reflection of Menjou and O'Brien at an angle (the camera comes to a rest just far enough to the left to avoid being reflected in the mirror). The degree of the angle is difficult to determine until O'Brien gets us and passes in front of the camera; the length of time between when his reflected image leaves the mirror and he passes in front of the camera reveals that the camera is further to the left than it, at first, appears.

Even more remarkable is that crazy shot where the guy travels up the (department store?) elevator to the room with the mirrored doors. Again, the elevator door and camera are positioned far enough to the left to avoid being reflected in the mirrors even though it appears the brief scene is shot straight on. It's almost like the cinematographer and director had a contest to see how complicated they could make each of the setups!

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zedz
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#54 Post by zedz » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:07 pm

Nice spotting on the camera angle, RR. I guess a part of the illusion is positioning the seated actors at a slight angle to the mirror to disguise the angle of the camera.

Other memorable shots are a late sequence in the press room which is cut together from a bunch of circular tracking shots around the central table, and that woozy montage sequence of tilting close ups.

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gcgiles1dollarbin
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#55 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:59 pm

zedz wrote: It was very enjoyable anyway, and I wasn't prepared for just how visually dynamic it was. The camera is always on the move, tracking, panning, tilting, with dozens of extremely inventive shots. There was one bravura tracking shot in particular that I just couldn't figure out.
This is one reason why I like Lewis Milestone's early talkie work: he really pushed the mobility of cameras at a time when you'd least expect it. Rain, for example, has that same almost eccentric dynamism, and I think it's a movie that has gone under-appreciated (perhaps because of its PD status resulting in crappy prints being too ubiquitous).

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zedz
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#56 Post by zedz » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:04 pm

gcgiles1dollarbin wrote:
zedz wrote: It was very enjoyable anyway, and I wasn't prepared for just how visually dynamic it was. The camera is always on the move, tracking, panning, tilting, with dozens of extremely inventive shots. There was one bravura tracking shot in particular that I just couldn't figure out.
This is one reason why I like Lewis Milestone's early talkie work: he really pushed the mobility of cameras at a time when you'd least expect it. Rain, for example, has that same almost eccentric dynamism, and I think it's a movie that has gone under-appreciated (perhaps because of its PD status resulting in crappy prints being too ubiquitous).
Which reminds me that a poster for Rain figures in one of those early 30s Ozu films, when he was also employing crazily kinetic camera work.

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domino harvey
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#57 Post by domino harvey » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:51 pm

For those seeking fast-paced filmmaking from the early sound years, look no further than Wyler's 1933 Counsellor at Law. It makes the Front Page (hell, even His Girl Friday) look like Cavalcade. I actually don't think any film could possibly be more fast-paced than Wyler's and still be intelligible

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Drucker
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Re: 849 His Girl Friday

#58 Post by Drucker » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:11 pm

David Bordwell's appreciation of the Hawks film in the extras is a model extra for a film like this. I consider myself someone that didn't get the big deal about Hawks after watching my first few films of his, and this was one of them. Bordwell contextualizes his rise to critical prominence, explains how far reaching his influence is, and makes the case for HGF as a prime example of what people love about the director. Every film deserves such a clear explanation of "what is the big deal about this film?" as we get here.

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Mr Sausage
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His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#59 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:42 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, August 17th

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Mr Sausage
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#60 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:43 am

Our topic this time is the runner up of the Hawks List. The winner of that list already had a round way back in 2016.

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knives
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#61 Post by knives » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:01 am

This movie is definitely a great study in adaptation. It preserves so much of the original play, but with a few small changes, a prologue and gender switch mostly with new ending, it manages to be such a radically different beast with a completely different tone and view of its characters.

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domino harvey
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#62 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:59 am

Was Ralph Bellamy ever in a film where he got the girl?

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Roscoe
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#63 Post by Roscoe » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:01 am

Great fun overall, with my favorite Rosalind Russell performance. I'll cop to getting queasy at film's end as this radiant smart funny woman, who has spent an entire movie outsmarting and railing against her devious and emotionally abusive ex-husband, falls right back in love with him at the fadeout, carrying her own luggage yet.

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Feego
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#64 Post by Feego » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:43 am

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:59 am
Was Ralph Bellamy ever in a film where he got the girl?
Rosemary's Baby? (I'll leave now)

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knives
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#65 Post by knives » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:56 am

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:59 am
Was Ralph Bellamy ever in a film where he got the girl?
The Wedding Night at least temporarily.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#66 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:30 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:59 am
Was Ralph Bellamy ever in a film where he got the girl?
Technically he does in This Man Is Mine (1934), although it's more appropriate to say it's the girl (Dunne) who gets him.

I didn't end up voting, but I went back to the doc I keep all my director filmography rankings, and this was what I had listed as number one, last time I updated it at least. My favorite Hawks really is sort of a four-way tie between this, The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, and Only Angels Have Wings (although I think Angels is probably his best).

Sadly, the more I watch it the slower paced it seems, but I'll never forget the pleasure of when I showed it to a friend of mine, and the dialogue seemed to be going so fast at points that my brain simply shut off to make way for the information overload coming its way.

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ando
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#67 Post by ando » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:32 am

Last minute alert: TCM is airing it this morning at 11:45 (EST). Can’t say I’ll have anything cogent to contribute afterward but looking forward to hot grits and Hawks shenanigans.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#68 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:24 pm

ando wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:32 am
Last minute alert: TCM is airing it this morning at 11:45 (EST). Can’t say I’ll have anything cogent to contribute afterward but looking forward to hot grits and Hawks shenanigans.
Just prior to His Girl Friday airing on TCM this morning was Bringing Up Baby. A Hawks/Grant one to two screwball comedy punch. Hawks' style of fast overlapping dialogue is just a perfect quality for the screwball comedy

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ando
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#69 Post by ando » Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:58 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:24 pm
Just prior to His Girl Friday airing on TCM this morning was Bringing Up Baby. A Hawks/Grant one to two screwball comedy punch. Hawks' style of fast overlapping dialogue is just a perfect quality for the screwball comedy
Quite. And I believe most, if not all, of the Cary Grant features (like the other “stars) will be free On Demand for a spell after today’s retrospective.

Look, my chief problem with HGF is that I have never bought Grant as a newspaper man. Russell, absolutely (it’s fairly crucial), but Grant always looks like he never worked a day in his life. But cad? Absolutely.

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Roscoe
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#70 Post by Roscoe » Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:34 am

ando wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:58 pm
(...)Grant always looks like he never worked a day in his life. But cad? Absolutely.
Agreed with the "never worked a day in his life" aspect to Grant in general, but it never really occurs to me with his Walter Burns, who is shown after all wheeling and dealing and shouting and screaming and grasping those phones for dear life as he barks orders all over the place. On the other hand, that's exactly how I feel about Grant's Johnny Case in HOLIDAY, who is supposed to have worked himself up from poverty and all that, and yeah, that guy's never gotten his hands dirty or broken a sweat. But of course Grant himself worked himself up from poverty to extreme glamour, didn't he?

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ando
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Re: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

#71 Post by ando » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:20 am

Roscoe wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:34 am
Agreed with the "never worked a day in his life" aspect to Grant in general, but it never really occurs to me with his Walter Burns, who is shown after all wheeling and dealing and shouting and screaming and grasping those phones for dear life as he barks orders all over the place.
He could just as easily be a bookie. It's Grant's manner, which rarely changes from film to film. It's why he was a star. I'm sure Hawks wanted that genteel cavalier pushiness over workingman strong-arming his staff which someone like Edward G. Robinson could have pulled off but would have had a very different effect next to Roz Russell. The romance had to trump everything in the end.

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