Monday, March 02, 2009

The Front Page, His Girl Friday & Switching Channels

The Front Page began as the hit Broadway comedy, written by one-time Chicago reporters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur and first produced in 1928. The authors' expert plotting and rapid-fire, streetwise dialogue delighted audiences and made their play an instant classic. Hecht and MacArthur strongly influenced many other American comic writers, especially in Hollywood. The Front Page has been adapted to film a number of times:
  • The Front Page (1931), starring Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien.

  • His Girl Friday (1940), directed by Howard Hawks considered the best of the adaptations, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. The "twist" to His Girl Friday is that the one of the lead roles was converted from a man to a woman. It was originally supposed to be a straightforward retelling of The Front Page, with both the editor and reporter being men, however during auditions, Howard Hawks' secretary read reporter Hildy Johnson's lines. Hawks liked the way the dialogue sounded coming from a woman, so the script was rewritten to make Hildy female, and the ex-wife of editor Walter Burns. Most of the original dialogue and all of the characters' names (with the exception of Bruce Baldwin, Hildy's fiance, who was of course a woman in the play) were left the same.

  • Today the film is in the public domain. Download from Internet Archives...

  • The Front Page (1974), directed by Billy Wilder, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

  • Switching Channels (1988), starring Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner, with the newspaper reporters updated to television reporters and none of the original dialogue retained.
  • The "Real" Fighting Seabees

    The Seabees are the Construction Battalions (CBs) of the United States Navy. The Seabees have a history of building bases, bulldozing and paving thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplishing myriad other construction projects in a wide variety of military theatres dating back to World War II. The official motto of the Seabees is "Construimus, Batuimus" – translated into English as "We Build, We Fight."

    The Fighting Seabees (1944), starring John Wayne, is a fictionalized portrayal of the beginning of the Seabees.

    U.S. Naval Construction Force This is an Official U.S. Navy Web site. Welcome to the home of the Seabees ...

    Night Must Fall | Adapted & Remade

    Night Must Fall is a 1937 film adaptation of the Emlyn Williams play of the same name. It was directed by Richard Thorpe and adapted by John Van Druten. It stars Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, and Dame May Whitty. Whitty reprised her role from when the play was performed in London and in New York City. A handsome young Irishman charms his way into the household of a wealthy invalid, but her niece is suspicious of his motives.

    Montgomery was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and Whitty for Best Supporting Actress.

    It was remade in 1964 with the same title. It was directed by Karel Reisz from a script by Clive Exton and starred Albert Finney, Mona Washbourne, and Susan Hampshire, but was not as successful as the original film.

    Night Must Fall the play was adapted into a radio play in March 1948 on the long-running radio drama series Suspense, with Robert Montgomery and Dame May Whitty reprising their original roles.

    Listen to radio play...

    A Broadway revival in the 1990s starring Matthew Broderick, essaying an Irish accent (as did Montgomery), rather than a Welsh one, performed respectably at the box office.

    Joan Crawford Possessed Twice...'31 & '47 films

    Did you know Joan Crawford stars in two successful films with exactly the same title--Possessed.

    Possessed (1931) film directed by Clarence Brown, and starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable. The film is the story of Marian Martin, a factory worker who rises to the top as the mistress of a wealthy attorney. The screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee was adapted from the 1920 Broadway play The Mirage by Edgar Selwyn. Possessed was the third of eight cinematic collaborations between Crawford and Gable.

    Possessed (1947) Warner Bros. feature film starring Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, and Raymond Massey in a tale about an unstable woman's obsession with her ex-lover. The screenplay by Ranald MacDougall and Silvia Richards was based upon a story by Rita Weiman. The film was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Jerry Wald. Possessed received one Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (Crawford).
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