The Front Page

Movie Information

In Brief: Fresh from All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Lewis Milestone tackled the job of bringing Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1928 Broadway hit newspaper comedy The Front Page to the screen. Nothing could be more different. All Quiet had been naturally cinematic, but The Front Page was set mostly — in the play, completely — in the press room of the criminal courts building of Chicago. Adding some exteriors and a few other locations was hardly going to keep it from turning into a photographed play, but Milestone was a major stylist and an innovator, so he loaded the film with moving camera (sometimes oddly) and rapid cutting. There was nothing stage-bound about his film. In fact, as cinema it's more effective than its more famous remake, His Girl Friday (1940) — and it's also much ruder, because of its pre-code status. The story is the same — conniving, unscrupulous newspaper editor (Adolphe Menjou) trying to keep his star reporter (Pat O'Brien) from quitting by (among other things) getting him tangled up in an irresistible story about a condemned man (George E. Stone) about to be hanged as part of a politician's bid to win an election. For the first time in years, the film is available in a really solid transfer that makes it far more detailed and impressive. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke originally published on Sept. 15, 2015.
Genre: Newspaper Comedy
Director: Lewis Milestone
Starring: Adolphe Menjou, Pat O'Brien, Mary Brian, Edward Everett Horton, Walter Catlett, Mae Clarke
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society will screen The Front Page on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at The Grail Moviehouse, hosted by Xpress movie critic Scott Douglas.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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