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

''His Girl Friday'' is a 1940 ScrewballComedy from Creator/ColumbiaPictures starring Creator/CaryGrant, Creator/RosalindRussell, and Creator/RalphBellamy, adapted from the play ''The Front Page'' by Ben Hecht and Charles [=MacArthur=], and directed by Creator/HowardHawks. It's 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 ''Creator/AmericanFilmInstitute's AFIS100Years100Laughs'' 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.

''Film/{{The Front Page|1931}}'' 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 Creator/JackLemmon and Creator/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 [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kpXX501COc here.]]
!! This movie contains examples of:
* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: In the midst of all the rapid-fire comedy, there is the scene in which Mollie Malloy calls out a full of newspapermen for spinning and sensationalizing Earl Williams' story just to sell papers and cracking jokes about him while he's awaiting execution. Later, with all the news hounds clamoring at her to talk to them, she leaps out of a window rather than say anything else that they could twist into more BlatantLies.
* AllForNothing: The reason Hildy wanted to divorce Walter in the first place is he's MarriedToTheJob and ignored her in favor of getting the scoop (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 fiancé, 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 Creator/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.
* BlackComedy: A mild example, but most of the characters are rather unsympathetic, and it's a screwball comedy focused around reporters reporting on (and the main ones trying to save) a mentally ill man about to be executed. And even a woman attempting suicide by jumping out of the window doesn't stop the comedy for very long. And Walter is just a terrible person through and through.
* ButtMonkey: Poor poor Bruce. The fact that him getting arrested due to Walter's machinations becomes a running gag is proof enough that the story is not kind to him. And he never did get his life savings back.
** A (mostly) non-comedic example would be Earl. He's a mentally ill man who is about to be hanged for killing a cop. Everyone in charge knows that he was mentally ill and didn't mean to, but they are doing it simply for the votes. And they have a last minute psychologist come in to examine him, but he mentions they woke him up in the middle of the night to do it. He manages to get a gun (through the sheriff's incompetence) and escape, but even amongst the heroes, he still doesn't have a great time, spending most of his time hiding in a desk. And he is eventually recaptured (though shortly after, the pardon arrives again, saving his life.)
* 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: Bruce, played by Ralph Bellamy, is described as resembling Ralph Bellamy.
* TheChewToy: Bruce and Earl Williams.
* ClearMyName: The "girlfriend" of Earl Williams 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: With a DownerEnding for Hildy -- Walter is too much of a jerk to ever change.
* 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.
* DaEditor: Burns in the original play was perhaps a TropeMaker, his performance by Cary Grant is a TropeCodifier. Many journalists and editors admitted that they all wanted to be Walter Burns.
* DisposableFiance: Bruce. Walter sets him up for never-ending humiliation and Hildy abandons him because she likes being a reporter too much.
* TheDitz: Joe Pettibone, the messenger from the Governor's office.
* DivorceInReno: Hildy mentions going to Reno to get her divorce.
* DrivenToSuicide: Sick of the newsmen trying to twist everything she says (and get Earl's location out of her too), Mollie Malloy jumps out of the window. One of the characters says that she is still moving, but that just seems to have been a throw away line so that a woman's suicide wasn't hanging over the rest of the film (which is still a comedy), Hildy still thinks she might be dead, and as far as the plot is concerned, she is as she never comes up again.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Hildy is visibly annoyed when one of her former colleagues addresses her as Hildegarde.
* ExactWords: Hildy promised to interview Earl Williams and write a story about it. She didn't say anything about not tearing up the story.
* 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.
* GetOut: Burns delivers this line at one point, as only Cary Grant could do it.
* 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.
* InsanityDefense: How Hildy intends to save Earl Williams.
* IntrepidReporter: Hildy. Also deconstructed -- she, Burns and all the other reporters that appear throughout the film are nothing but a bunch of nearly inhuman manipulative, lying, petty and unfeeling bastards and have little to no concern in either destroying or saving other people's lives with the stuff they spin and jump on anything that looks like an exclusive not unlike vultures on a fresh carcass. Hildy and Burns do save Williams' life, but it's mostly for the sake of controlling the story -- bear in mind that Hildy ''destroys an article that would have saved Williams earlier in the film just to thumb her nose at Walter.''
* JerkWithTheHeartOfAJerk: Walter Burns lies and manipulates everyone around him including runining his ex-wife's honeymoon with her new fiancee and having them thrown in jail all for the sake of a story. Towards the end he starts to reveal a nobler side only for it to be more manipulations to keep his wife and get another story.
* 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
* QuittingToGetMarried: The film starts with Hildy telling her ex-husband that once she marries her current fiance she's giving up her job with the paper to be a wife and mother. It's a ScrewballComedy and the ex is played by Creator/CaryGrant, so of course it doesn't work out that way.
* 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.
* TooDumbToFool: The Mayor and Sheriff Hartwell might have succeeded in covering up Earl Williams's LastMinuteReprieve if Pettibone, the messenger from the Governor's office responsible for delivering the reprieve, weren't so incredibly dense.
* WellExcuseMePrincess: See BST above.