Cinema Studies: His Girl Friday

Film: His Girl Friday (1940)
Logline: A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. (

^Is that a logline or what? I tried to write a sweet little sentence like that and I failed miserably. My loglines tend to get to muddled with plot.

The first time I watched this film was when Chris Oatley assigned it to me as a color script assignment. I failed miserably at that too.


The script is amazing. The delivery of lines is amazing. I discovered, after watching His Girl Friday multiple times, that the camera movements are very subtle. Most of the shots happen indoors, in a few rooms. This limits what the camera can do.

In fact, the most unsettling parts of the film are the moments break the film's own standard in-room shots! For example:

I think the mostly mild shots were used to let the acting and the script really shine. Rosaline Russell and Cary Grant were great at delivering fast paced lines. This was one of the first films that overlapped dialogue. It was very hard to follow the first time I watched it, but after the second time and reading the script, I was able to keep up.

I learned that tracking shot refers to a shot in which the camera is mounted on a camera dolly, a wheeled platform that is pushed on rails while the picture is being taken; in this case the shot is also known as a dolly shot or trucking shot.

The last thing I want to point out is the usage of overhead lights to make the composition more interesting. See below:

The script of this film is magnificent. Some of my favorite lines though, were adlibbed by Rosalind, who felt that Cary Grant got all the good lines and decided that she'd hire a writer to make her own lines better!

All in all, I've learned alot from this wild film and I have come to love it very much!