Scheming journalists, lying politicians, conniving cops? It’s not your Facebook feed. It’s Howard Hawks’ classic 1940 farce, “His Girl Friday,” as timely as ever in a new Criterion Blu-ray.
Amid rat-a-tat-tat dialogue, newspaper editor Cary Grant and reporter Rosalind Russell chase a big story about a death-row inmate’s pending execution while pretending they’re not still an item. Escalating current events and her ever-present fiance (Ralph Bellamy) complicate matters.
Criterion's typically abundant extras include a doozy: a restored version of the 1931 cinematic predecessor, “The Front Page,” which has inspired many other adaptations over the decades. For those hankering for something closer to the original stage production, there are two 1930s-40s radio broadcasts of "The Front Page," plus an hourlong 1940 Lux Radio broadcast based on "His Girl Friday." Various supplements delve into the audio/video makeover and Hawks' visual storytelling, among other subjects. Really, the only things missing are commentary tracks.
But enthusiasts will find much worthwhile material to explore, right down to the insert that mimics a printed newpaper.