MovieChat Forums > The Front PageĀ (1974) Discussion > This is a remake of His Girl Friday, isn...

This is a remake of His Girl Friday, isn't it?


As soon as I saw that newsroom and that rollup desk, I was "WTF?" Why remake one of the greatest movies of all time?





I asked the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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Actually, that movie you consider to be "one of the greatest movies of all time" is, itself, a remake.

The original version was "The Front Page", a Best Picture nominee from 1931, in which Hildy (the character that would later be played by Rosalind Russell) was a man.

In fact, producer Paul Monash was going back to the original form. He decided to get two of the best screenwritiers of all time (Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond) to rework some of the more raw dialogue that wasn't allowed when the original Broadway version (which starred Anthony Perkins' father) was transferred to the screen during a time of heavy movie censorship. Hildy's original gender was restored, with a too-young-for-him Susan Sarandon as Hildy's fiancee.

So that's the "why", although I do agree that--even with Wilder directing--they did not improve upon HGF, or even the 1931 original. (Which is worth seeking out on TCM, even if you don't end up liking it as much as HGF).

And if you like RR as Hildy, check out the film Tell It To The Judge (1949) in which she also plays a woman thrust into unforseen circumstances with an ex (Bob Cummings)--only this time as a lawyer.


"Well, for once the rich white man is in control!" C. M. Burns

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Thanks for the response. Heh, heh, well, I personally don't consider it one of the greatest movies of all time, but others consider it so, and I don't blame them. Me, I like it a lot - that dialogue just hums along, but greatest? Nah. I did read somewhere that it has the most pages of script per minute than any movie, ever, and I believe it. That makes it an awful lot of fun.

After I posted this, I saw the info you posted about the original The Front Page. I will keep an eye out for it on TCM, which is probably where I first saw His Girl Friday in the first place, just a year or two ago.

Also, thanks for the tip on RR. I did like her as Hildy, so I'll keep an eye out for that one, too.




I asked the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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Thanks for the quick reply.

Yes, I think the speediness, and the added romantic angle, is what makes HGF pop.

It's amazing how many movies we think are originals actually are not (most recently, The Departed).

I think most people know that most musicals are reworkings of non-musical originals. Examples: Gigi, Oliver!, Hello Dolly (OT: The Matchmaker with Shirley Booth), Moulin Rouge, Mame, and several others.

Here are some other movies that had predecessors:

Ben-Hur (a silent)

An Affair To Remember ("Love Affair" in '39)

The Painted Veil

Down And Out In Beverly Hills

Far From Heaven

Enchanted April

Cape Fear

The Deep End

The Birdcage

Men Don't Leave (1981 French film, "La Vie Continue")

A Place In The Sun (stellar remake of "An American Tragedy")

The Wizard of Oz

A Star is Born**

(**not just the 1937 version, but a suspiciously similar George Cukor 1932 film called "What Price Hollywood?"--Cukor directed the 1954 version without ever noting he might be ripping himself off)

Those are some of the good ones, off the top of my head. Of course there are a few novels and other plays that have been filmed numerous times, and sometimes they turned out quite good ("Little Women" springs to mind). I think if the original isn't really well known, you can take a stab at it (e.g., Painted Veil) Or maybe turning a "straight" story gay, like in FFH and TDE above, you can freshen up a stale tale. But for the most part, I'm against fixing what ain't broke.

(Yours Mine and Ours, Cheaper By The Dozen, Father of the Bride, Diabolique, anyone? No? Didn't think so!)

"Well, for once the rich white man is in control!" C. M. Burns

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"Yes, I think the speediness, and the added romantic angle, is what makes HGF pop."

That's it. Definitely.

An Affair to Remember - I did not know that. Is the original any good?

Cape Fear - you're not talking about the great Robert Mitchum/Gregory Peck classic, are you? That was a remake? Everyone knows that the Robert DeNiro/Nick Nolte version was a remake.

I know this is off-topic, but man, that Mitchum can be one scary-a$$ mofo when he wants to be. I knew the Hayes Code, almost defunct but still very much alive in 1962, would make sure everything came out okay, but I still had to keep reminding myself of that fact as I watched. They came pretty close to the line when he was going after the little girl, and I was more than a little shocked when I saw it. He was also so deliciously evil in Night of the Hunter as well.

Speaking of being shocked, I was really shocked when I first saw Lolita. (Just to be clear, I wasn't shocked, shocked.) I couldn't believe the censors let them get away with all they did in that picture.




I asked the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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No, I was referring to the 1991 Cape Fear being a remake. Yes, one would think everyone knows that it's a remake, for the two stars of the original appear in it; however, nothing surprises me on IMDb! (On today's poll, 22% of respondents don't know who Jerry Garcia was.)


Indeed, Mitchum was one of the top tier, and he seemed like such a natural doin' the scary stuff. Even more interesting is that he seemed to be working harder as an actor in lighter fare like Holiday Affair and Rachel And The Stranger. I also liked him in Out Of The Past.

TCM occasionally shows a clip of Polly Bergen years later talking about the egg scene in CF, how she didn't know what to expect, but she knew he could take it there, and he did--or something to that effect.

And yes, 1939's Love Affair is really good. The grandmother is more subdued (and played by Maria Ouspenskaya--another one who specialized in playing hard bitten types with whom one did not mess**--working harder playing nice), and many movie buffs prefer Irene Dunne's breezy demeanor over Deborah Kerr's prim 'n' proper mannerisms. Of course I prefer Charles Boyer to Cary Grant too, although in the final scene of the remake Grant showed more vulnerability than he normally allowed himself to. (This is why he turned down the James Mason role in the 1954 A Star Is Born--NEVER woulda happened!) He always kept a dapper facade.

As for Lolita, I totally agree. I'm sure it broke through a lot of film boundaries only a director like Stanley Kubrick (at the time) would have been brave enough to even approach. But James Mason was no stanger to edgy characters, as he played an obsessive Svengali in The Painted Veil which has a very eerie head-scratching ending. He also was very free-spririted at 60 oppostie a young and often very naked Helen Mirren in Age of Consent, an odd indie production with beautiful scenery.

(**See the 1935 movie Dodsworth for a good example of how scary Ouspenskaya could be!)

"Well, for once the rich white man is in control!" C. M. Burns

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i've always thought it weird that people talk about 'why' remakes are made. we think nothing of watching multiple stagings of plays... while there is perhaps more concentrated effort going on in films as regards HOW we perceive them (i.e., cinematography) that we don't find in theater, essentially, one could argue that films could be reshot as many times as there are directors/producers interested in working up new versions. when van sant did 'psycho', which everyone hated, and i enjoyed (though not seeing it as in any way replacing hitchcock's film), he said he'd like to do it again with different actors. i thought that sounded like an interesting idea.

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I guess many movie buffs are anti-remake because so many of them turn out poorly. Plus, it makes even less sense now than it did then because back when movies first started being remade, videos of the originals weren't readily available. (Television hadn't even arrived, so movies were re-released.)

Or, the times have changed so much that the subject matter of certain films doesn't fit the present. (The Women was a recent example of this.)

That being said, I alreadyu listed in an earlier post here some remakes that were really worth doing (The Painted Veil springs to mind again.), but more often than not the results are lackluster.

"Well, for once the rich white man is in control!" C. M. Burns

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i think also people hold on to the originals... the collaborative effect of the original. whereas with plays, we have only the original text (in most cases), and not the original performances... i suppose if we had digital footage in good quality of the Rose performances of Shakespeare's troupes, we'd all either shut up and watch them or we'd toss Shakespeare out of the canon...

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I was really shocked when I first saw Lolita. (Just to be clear, I wasn't shocked, shocked.) I couldn't believe the censors let them get away with all they did in that picture.

Lolita was 1963 and was rated for Adults Only. IMO, movies in the early 60s were far racier than what we'd seen before under the Hayes Code. But Hayes was out by 1965, and by 1967 movies with nudity and profanity were so common that today's ratings system was put in place in 1968 to encourage parental guidance.

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[deleted]

Yes, the press room, the central table, Bensinger's desk, door and window, and even the camera position are exactly in the same place. Had Billy Wilder run out of ideas?

--
Rome. By all means, Rome.

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Actually, His Girl Friday was a remake of The Front Page, which was done as a film version in the 30's. It originally was a stage production.

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