January 22, 1940 [His Girl Friday]

Rosalind Russell plays Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday like it's "Flight of the Bumblebee." I want to add, "I kept waiting for the Green Hornet to show up," but that's just the movie infecting me. It's all gags, one-liners, verbal gymnastics. The director, Howard Hawks, seemed more than ready to take on the challenge, letting his actors jump all over each other in hyperbolic glee, atoms whose trajectories only Einstein could follow--and what fun that this movie's Theory of Relativity is offered by the woman in the case, Hildy playing Baffle Ball with Cary Grant, the plot cocked on her head like her hat.

I have never seen a faster movie, nor one I needed to see so often, if only to catch every crumb it scatters, all patter and innuendo. A strange experience, dizzier than most comedies; and strangest of all--and in his way best of all--is Ralph Bellamy, the only one in the bunch who lives in real time, slow and steady, his drawl reassuring that the speed of light still eludes those of us not in the newspaper game.


Popular Posts