Entertainment » Movies

The Front Page

by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Aug 15, 2019
The Front Page

First produced in 1928 as a Broadway play, released as an American pre-Code film in 1931, reimagined as "His Girl Friday" in 1940 and then realized once more by director Billy Wilder in 1974, "The Front Page" is a classic comedy that has seen many forms. New to Kino Lorber Blu-ray comes Wilder's 1974 version, which Wilder regards in the following quote, as profiled by his biographer Charlotte Chandler - "I'm against remakes in general ... because if a picture is good, you shouldn't remake it, and if it's lousy, why remake it? ... It was not one of my pictures I was particularly proud of."

Wilder should've been proud, though, as "The Front Page" is another worthy adaptation of a classic comedic tale. The fast-paced world of reporting embodied in the film was arguably best captured in Howard Hawks' quick-talking "His Girl Friday," but Wilder's film comes in a close second thanks to thrillingly energetic performances by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. In comparison to "His Girl Friday," Wilder's work takes a more methodical approach to the dialogue.

Lemmon once said, "I had one regret about the film. Billy would not let us overlap our lines more. I think that would have made it better ... I feel it's a piece in which you must overlap. But Billy, the writer, wanted to hear all of the words clearly, and he wanted the audience to hear the words. I would have liked to overlap to the point where you lost some of the dialogue." It's no "His Girl Friday," but it becomes an entity all its own.

It's a shame that Wilder didn't see the promise in this very endearing film. While not one of his best, it's certainly something that's worthy of being rediscovered by fans of the director's more mainstream works like "Sunset Boulevard" and "Some Like It Hot." The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but thanks to this stunningly restored Kino Lorber release, modern viewers can now judge for themselves.

"The Front Page"


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