David Bordwell on the Magic of His Girl Friday

On Film / Short Takes — Jan 19, 2017

Ever wonder what, exactly, a “girl Friday” is? Over on his blog, scholar David Bordwell gets to the bottom of this and some other questions about Howard Hawks’s 1940 screwball masterpiece, a film that has beguiled him for almost fifty years. Expanding on an interview featured on our new edition of His Girl Friday, the post offers invaluable insights on the titular phrase’s gossip-column origins, as well as the subtly masterful choices of framing, staging, and editing that often get overshadowed by the cast’s verbal pyrotechnics. As with all the posts on his blog, it’s a great read, full of insights that demonstrate his keen attention to detail and encyclopedic command of film style. And if you’re hankering for more of his in-depth analyses, check out our new series on the Criterion Channel, Observations on Film Art, in which he and colleagues Kristin Thompson and Jeff Smith reveal the nuts and bolts of the medium through the work of great filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Akira Kurosawa.