849. His Girl Friday

Hi everyone—I’m back! Miss me? Last year my workload forced me to take a long hiatus. But Criterion Affection has always been near and dear to my heart, and there’s still so much more I want to draw. (The completionist disease that makes me obsessive about watching Criterion is the same one that makes me unable to let go of a project.) So I’m determined to bring back the blog for 2018, starting with one of my all-time favorite films. Happy new year!

His Girl Friday is, as far as I’m concerned, the best romantic comedy of all time. You heard me. Set in an unscrupulous news room, Rosalind Russel is iconic as the quintessential fast-talking reporter, who is leaving her ex-husband and editor, Cary Grant, in order to be a “real woman” married to a dopey insurance agent. But her ex is determined to lure her back with a juicy scoop. Now, I have a soft spot to begin with for unrealistically witty dialog, and His Girl Friday is famous for its hilarious, rapid-fire repartee. But what makes this film truly timeless for me is that it doesn’t dip into one of my most-hated topes, the “battle of the sexes.” Instead, Russel and Grant are pitted against each other as equals in a battle of wits. Even though they’re at odds, they are clearly playing and enjoying the same manipulative games, running circles around everyone else. And it’s incredibly refreshing, even today, to watch a woman finding equal satisfaction in her work and receiving equal respect from her colleagues. Smart, delightful, and still hilarious 100 viewings later.

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