As a winsome crackpot awaits execution for murder, the most cynical bunch of reporters in movie history crack jokes. One paper’s managing editor, Walter Burns (Cary Grant), will do anything (including kidnapping an old lady) to get an exclusive — and to win back his star reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), who is also his ex-wife about to marry an insurance-peddling lump (Ralph Bellamy). It was director Howard Hawks who had the inspiration to switch sexes on the male Hildy from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s famously misanthropic whirlwind Broadway farce, thus adding romantic chicanery to Walter’s rap sheet. Fast-fast and funny-funny, the film moves with a pickpocket’s grace and the morals of a…wait, journalists don’t have morals.
Next Citizen Kane