The Front Page Essay

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In the following essay, Smith probes the transformation of lead character Hildy Johnson from a male role to a female role by film director Howard Hawks.

Clearly central to the task which director Howard Hawks sets himself in adapting Hecht and MacArthur' s The Front page into his own film, His Girl Friday, is the need to reformulate the central character, Hildy Johnson. Hawks has both begun this reformulation and compounded its difficulties by opting to present Hildy as a woman rather than a man. To bring to fruition this initial switch, while retaining the broad outlines of the stage play's plot, Hawks must justify his new Hildy in terms of the demands levied by Hildy's role in the original play. Specifically, he must make his female Hildy believable as what her opposite, Walter (Gary Grant), dubs her in the film: "The best newspaperman I know." At the...

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This section contains 3,084 words
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