Front Page

Front Page

2.5 2
Director: Billy Wilder
     
 

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This third film version of the 1928 Ben Hecht/Charlie MacArthur Broadway hit The Front Page was the first one permitted to utilize all the salty profanities in the original play. Director Billy Wilder cast his two favorite leading men, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, as ace reporter Hildy Johnson and ruthless newspaper editor Walter Burns, respectively. The…  See more details below

Overview

This third film version of the 1928 Ben Hecht/Charlie MacArthur Broadway hit The Front Page was the first one permitted to utilize all the salty profanities in the original play. Director Billy Wilder cast his two favorite leading men, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, as ace reporter Hildy Johnson and ruthless newspaper editor Walter Burns, respectively. The plot of the Hecht/MacArthur play remains intact: Burns pulls every underhanded game in the book to prevent Johnson from leaving his Chicago paper to get married, and in so doing the two journalists uncover a cesspool of political corruption, centered around the planned execution of anarchist Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton). Carol Burnett has an extended cameo as Williams' tart girlfriend, Mollie Malloy. The Front Page was remade for a fourth time in 1988 as Switching Channels.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
By 1974, cinematic standards regarding profanity had relaxed enough that a dialogue-faithful version of the famous play The Front Page could finally hit the screen. Legendary director Billy Wilder, with his quick wit, impeccable sense of timing, and masterful blend of cynicism and romance, seemed the natural choice for the assignment of bringing this classic to the screen, and he certainly made wise casting decisions for most of the roles. But what seemed like a perfect picture on paper somehow ended up somewhat disappointing. The end result is a good and entertaining picture, but not the one-of-a-kind experience it should have been. Wilder deserves most of the blame, for the picture rarely achieves the consistent comic madness it calls out for. Jack Lemmon's performance is also somewhat problematic; he's good, but a trifle too restrained, especially in comparison with Walter Matthau's dead-on, memorably over-the-top interpretation. Matthau is better matched by Austin Pendleton's excellent revolutionary with a fondness for putting "Free Sacco and Vanzetti" messages inside of fortune cookies. Vincent Gardenia and Martin Gabel are also very entertaining, but Carol Burnett is badly miscast as a two-dollar whore with the reliable heart of gold. Although not up to the efforts of Wilder's peak period, The Front Page still has moments of the director's magic touch.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/17/1998
UPC:
0018713810205
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
PG
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
1:46:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Lemmon Hildy Johnson
Walter Matthau Walter Burns
Carol Burnett Mollie Malloy
Susan Sarandon Peggy Grant
Vincent Gardenia Sheriff
David Wayne Bensinger
Barbara Peterson Davis Myrtle
Joshua Shelley Cab Driver
Allen Jenkins Telegrapher
John Furlong Duffy
Biff Elliot Police Dispatcher
Leonard Bremen Butch
Allen Garfield Kruger
Austin Pendleton Earl Williams
Charles Durning Murphy
Martin Gabel Dr. Eggelhofer
Harold Gould Mayor
Cliff Osmond Jacobi
Dick O'Neill McHugh
Jon Korkes Keppler
Lou Frizzell Endicott
Paul Benedict Plunkett
Doro Merande Jennie
Noam Pitlik Wilson
Herb Edelman Schwartz

Technical Credits
Billy Wilder Director,Screenwriter
Henry Bumstead Art Director
Jordan S. Cronenweth Cinematographer
Buddy G. DeSylva Songwriter
I.A.L. Diamond Screenwriter
Ray Henderson Songwriter
Howard Kazanjian Asst. Director
Jennings Lang Producer
Robert Martin Sound/Sound Designer
Billy May Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Burton Miller Costumes/Costume Designer
Paul Monash Producer
James W. Payne Set Decoration/Design
Jesse Wayne Stunts
Ralph Winters Editor

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Scene Index

Scene Index
0. Scene Index
1. Appeal Denied [7:22]
2. Congratulate Me [7:02]
3. Peggy Grant at the Organ [6:57]
4. Class of '27 [1:54]
5. The Midnight Madonna [3:38]
6. Farewell to the Troops [7:54]
7. I Love People [6:07]
8. Dragnet [5:57]
9. Exclusive [5:00]
10. Shoot to Kill [5:54]
11. Hot Potato [5:26]
12. The Desk [8:27]
13. An Animal at Bay [4:17]
14. You're Beautiful When You're Angry [5:40]
15. His White-Haired Mother's Tears [2:32]
16. Freedom of the Press [10:05]
17. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot [5:00]
18. A Wedding Present [5:26]

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The Front Page 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
virtual More than 1 year ago
A very good remake of "His Girl Friday" with more humour and a better plot.