[[caption-width-right:300:"They ain't human." "I know; they're newspaper men."]]

''His Girl Friday'' (1940) is a ScrewballComedy from Creator/ColumbiaPictures starring Creator/CaryGrant, Rosalind Russell, and Ralph Bellamy, adapted from the play ''The Front Page'' by Ben Hecht and Charles [=MacArthur=], and directed by Creator/HowardHawks. Now in the PublicDomain.

When newspaper editor Walter Burns (Grant) learns that his ex-wife and former [[IntrepidReporter ace reporter]] Hildy Johnson (Russell) is about to marry bland insurance salesman Bruce Baldwin (Bellamy) and settle down to a quiet life as a wife and mother, Burns decides he must sabotage these plans. He entices the reluctant Johnson into covering one last story: the upcoming execution of convicted murderer Earl Williams (John Qualen). After that, Burns does everything he can to keep her from leaving, including having Bellamy arrested over and over on trumped-up changes, and having Hildy's mother-in-law kidnapped, amongst other shenanigans.

This film is noted for its rapid-fire dialogue, and it was #19 on ''American Film Institute's 100 Years -- 100 Laughs'' and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Today the film is in the public domain (even though the 1928 play it is based on is still under copyright), which hasn't prevented Columbia Pictures from issuing official video releases of the film.

''The Front Page'' had earlier been filmed in 1931 (with Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien), and was [[Film/TheFrontPage remade again]] by Creator/BillyWilder in 1974 (with JackLemmon and WalterMatthau) and as ''Switching Channels'' (with the setting updated to the TV-news era) in 1988.

Because the film is in the PublicDomain, it can be viewed in its entirety [[http://www.hulu.com/watch/63243/his-girl-friday here.]]
!! This movie contains examples of:
* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: Well, more like Comedy Film Quiet Drama Scene. Earl William's "girlfriend" pleading with the newspapermen to tell the truth and help him is heart-wrenching, as is her later jumping out of a window.
* AllForNothing: The reason Hildy wanted to divorce Walter in the first place is he's MarriedToTheJob and ignored her in favor of getting the HotScoop (even canceling their honeymoon to cover a mine accident). The movie ends with them deciding to stay married and have a second honeymoon-- which Walter asks to make in Albany to cover a big union strike. You can practically see the disappointment in Hildy's face.
* BelligerentSexualTension: Hildy and Walter's infuriated arguing is ''dripping'' with sexual tension, which is probably why they hooked up in the first place. The writing is praised today as being remarkably progressive for its time, since the film establishes from the start that theirs is a steadfastly egalitarian relationship: they're both ''equally'' pig-headed and stubborn.
* BeQuietNudge: Hildy Johnson keeps kicking Walter Burns under the table as he tells increasingly risque stories to rattler her dull new fiancÚ, Bruce Baldwin (who doesn't notice). She ends up kicking the waiter.
* BettyAndVeronica: Hildy is torn between two men ([[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic note her white and black striped outfit above]]): stable but milquetoast Bruce (Betty) and exciting but petulent Walter (Veronica). Too bad for Betty, this Veronica is CaryGrant.
* BlatantLies: Told by the pressmen as they give wildly divergent versions of Earl Williams' capture -- ''an event they are currently watching'' -- to their editors.
* CareerVersusMan: Hildy clearly thinks it's what's at stake. She can either give up her job to settle down with Bruce, or rejoin the exciting world of hotshot reporting. The gendered language of her explanation gives away the conflict in her mind: she can stay in New York and "be a newspaper '''man'''" or move to the countryside and "be a '''woman'''."
* CelebrityParadox: Ralph is described as resembling the actor who plays him.
* CelebrityResemblance: Walter, describing Bruce: "He looks like, uh, that guy from the movies, you know... Ralph Bellamy.".
* TheChewToy: Bruce and Earl Williams.
* ClearMyName: The "girlfriend" of Earl William's desperately pleads with the room of newspapermen to get their story straight-- that she had helped him one time out of pity and had no relationship, that he was innocent-- to their bigoted and utter indifference. Once she leaves the room everyone present is visibly shown to have been affecting said indifference. All the more tragic because she later jumps out a window in despair (thankfully not dying) and the event is covered with just as much vulturelike zeal by the newspaper men.
* ComedicSociopathy: Walter is mean to poor Bruce.
* ComedyOfRemarriage
* CounterfeitCash: Walter gets Diamond Louie to hand Hildy some counterfeit bills, knowing that it'll probably be passed on to Bruce. And then Bruce gets arrested for the third time in one day.
* DisposableFiance: Bruce.
* TheDitz: Pettibone, the messenger from the Governor's office.
* DivorceInReno: Hildy mentions going to Reno to get her divorce.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Hildy is visibly annoyed when one of her former colleagues addresses her as Hildegarde.
* GambitRoulette: One would be led to believe that Walter Burns had the entire day planned out exactly as it occurred, including all of the bizarre and seemingly unforeseen reversals of fortune. Either that or he's a master of XanatosSpeedChess
* GenderFlip: This movie is a gender-flipped version of the original play, turning Hildy Johnson into a woman and making it a romantic comedy.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The dialogue moves so fast, Russell and Grant managed to slip in a few choice innuendos. For one, Walter greets Bruce by grabbing and shaking his umbrella. When he realizes what he's grabbing he quickly lets go with a snide "Oh, that's ''wrong'', isn't it?" Hildy gets a good jab at Walter too when he says of his body "Hey, I'm better than I ever was." Hildy doesn't miss a {{Beat}} and shoots back "Was never anything to brag about."
** Also, over the phone: "He shot him right in the classified ads!... No, ''ads.''"
* GirlFriday: Hildy. Co-TropeNamer, with ''Literature/RobinsonCrusoe''
* GrandeDame: Mrs. Baldwin is close to this type.
* HoneyTrap: Diamond Louie has a "very blonde" female friend who gets Bruce into a compromising situation for arrest number 2.
* HotScoop: Walter and Hildy.
* InsanityDefense: How Hildy intends to save Earl Williams.
* IntrepidReporter: Hildy.
* LastMinuteReprieve: Pettibone arrives with a reprieve hours before the scheduled execution. The Mayor and Sheriff are so set on executing Earl Williams that they try to bribe him to go away with a sinecure in the City Sealer's office. [[spoiler: It doesn't work and he comes back at an inconvenient time.]]
* ManipulativeBastard / GuileHero: Where Walter falls on this spectrum depends on how you interpret his actions throughout the night. Hildy definitely has plenty of moments too. Throughout the film, Walter is trying to win Hildy back, Hildy is countering Walter's advances, and both of them are [[OutGambitted out-gambitting]] the Mayor and the Sheriff to save Earl Williams.
* MarriedToTheJob: The core conflict is largely about this.
* MotorMouth: Walter, when he has a good line going. Hildy punctuates the end of an especially rapid rant with "Sold to American!", parodying the then popular tagline openings for radio shows promoted by American Tobacco, makers of Lucky Strike Cigarettes. (The shows would open with an auctioneer doing a [[MotorMouth impossibly fast]] series of bids, ending with "Sold to American!")
** Hildy can talk pretty fast herself when worked up.
** Hollywood professionals familiar with how these things work have said that by all rights, the length of the script means the movie should have been ''twice'' as long as it is.[[note]]A film critic once worked out why this is so by comparing the speed of the dialogue in this film to the speed of the dialogue in Lewis Milestone's 1931 ''The Front Page'', an earlier movie based on the same play. In terms of words-per-minute, the characters in ''The Front Page'' actually talk ''faster'' than the characters in ''His Girl Friday'', but ''His Girl Friday'' ''feels'' faster because in ''His Girl Friday'' they constantly talk over each other, whereas in ''The Front Page'' they never do.[[/note]]
* NiceHat: Hildy ''loves'' them. Special mention has to go to the one she wears in the page image.
* NoodleIncident: The Albany story. Hildy kicks Walter in the shin because he almost reveals that the two of them had been sharing a hotel room...before they were married.
* OneOfTheBoys: Hildy.
* PantyShot: A brief one, when Hildy hikes up her skirt to chase after Cooley.
* PublicDomainFeatureFilms
* RomanticFalseLead: Ralph Bellamy, of course, as Bruce, who is pleasant and handsome and won't get the girl.
* RomanticRunnerUp: Ralph Bellamy. [[TypeCasting Surprise, surprise]].
* SleazyPolitician: The Mayor and Sheriff Peter B. "Pinky" Hartwell.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Despite the surface cynicism of the film, the political corruption, the callousness of the pressmen, and Walter Burns' manipulation of all the people around him, there is a strong hint that a free press is what ultimately ensures justice will prevail in a free society.
* StarmakingRole: Rosalind Russell got her big break from this film.
* WellExcuseMePrincess: See BST above.