The Front Page (1931 film)

The Front Page is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film, directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien. Based on a Broadway play of the same name, the film was produced by Howard Hughes, written by Bartlett Cormack and Charles Lederer, and distributed by United Artists. The supporting cast includes Mary Brian, George E. Stone, Matt Moore, Edward Everett Horton and Walter Catlett. At the 4th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Picture, Milestone for Best Director, and Menjou for Best Actor.

The Front Page
Directed byLewis Milestone
Produced byLewis Milestone
Howard Hughes
Screenplay byBartlett Cormack
Charles Lederer
Based onThe Front Page
by Ben Hecht
Charles MacArthur
StarringAdolphe Menjou
Pat O'Brien
Mary Brian
Edward Everett Horton
CinematographyGlen MacWilliams
Edited byW. Duncan Mansfield
The Caddo Company
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • April 4, 1931 (1931-04-04)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$700,000[1]

In 2010, this film was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2] The film is in the public domain.[3]

Two versions of the film currently exist, each made up of different takes, one for the international market and director Lewis Milestone's preferred version for its original U.S. domestic release. Both versions are available on home video.[4]


The film, considered a screwball comedy, centers on a reporter, Hildebrand "Hildy" Johnson (Pat O'Brien) and his editor (Adolphe Menjou), who hope to cash in on a big story involving an escaped accused murderer, Earl Williams (Stone) and hide him in a rolltop desk while everybody else tries to find him.



In addition to this film, the play has been adapted on several other occasions. CBS radio turned it into a one-hour episode of Academy Award Theater with O'Brien and Menjou, a June 28, 1937 episode of Lux Radio Theater with Walter Winchell and James Gleason, and a May 9, 1948 episode of the Ford Theatre starring Ed Begley and Everett Sloane.[5] The story was adapted for Howard Hawks's comedy His Girl Friday (1940), a 1974 remake of The Front Page starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and another version was made as Switching Channels (1988) with Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner and Christopher Reeve.

See also


  1. Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3. p111
  2. Barnes, Mike (December 28, 2010). "'Empire Strikes Back,' 'Airplane!' Among 25 Movies Named to National Film Registry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  3. Ladwig, Samantha (September 5, 2017). "30 Hollywood Classics Streaming for Free in the Public Domain". Retrieved March 10, 2018. ... with the first being the 1931 Lewis Milestone–directed The Front Page, which also fell into the public domain.
  4. Sragow, Michael (January 11, 2017). "The Front Page: Stop the Presses!". Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  5. Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of Over 1800 Shows. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0351-9.

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