Wednesday, August 22, 2007

His Girl Friday (1940)

This movie has a scene I have to replay over and over again - Cary Grant chases Rosalind Russel around a desk and she transforms into his lover and partner again. I love this moment. I pretty much love the same moment in all my favorite romantic comedies - call it the "melt moment" it's the moment when one character melts the other's heart, melts through his or her resistance, and...amor vincit omnia, of course!

The Melt Moment - recreated for a still, of course...

It's the moment in Jerry Maguire when she says "you had me at hello" and it's the moment in Pride and Prejudice when they come upon each other unexpectedly - he's disheveled and wet, she's checking out his - holdings. The melt moment is the orgasm of the movie, and a good one can be enjoyed again and again. It's a good thing that DVDs don't wear out like VHS tapes, that's all I have to say.

The brilliant thing about this particular melt moment, though, is that Rosalind Russell's character doesn't even realize that she's melted. She thinks she's just giving in to one more little story...but in reality she's leaving her staid fiance and the life of a housewife in Albany to go back to her ex-husband and the newspaper business she loves.

What makes it great is not that you don't see it coming, it's that you do, and she doesn't, but it's still perfectly obvious that Cary Grant's character knows that he's won her back, and he is happy as only a man who has made his the love of his life return to him can be.

There are many other reasons to love this movie, let's count them!
1. Costumes, hers
2. Newspaper lingo and newspaper lifestyle - journalists were the TMZ of the 1920s so this is a bit like watching "The Springer Hustle" or "TMZ on TV" - except the newspapermen have a tiny tiny bit of integrity and a political angle (they want to get rid of the corrupt mayor).
3. Fiesty lady reporter who doesn't get tame at the end.
4. great character actors in all the little bit parts doing great bits
5. screwball plot twists on the level of A Fish Called Wanda

Five Stars, will watch again and again and again. And so should you.