“The Front Page,” coming soon to Blu-Ray, is a 1974 farce with an incredible cast. Reuniting the wonderful team of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (who co-starred in a number of comedies throughout their long careers), director Billy Wilder looks at the often-ruthless competition of the press to get an exclusive story.
Matthau is Walter Burns, the publisher of a newspaper who values his best writer Hildy Johnson (Lemmon). The city is experiencing one of its biggest stories with the upcoming hanging of a convicted cop-killer, Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton). The problem for Burns is that Johnson just quit his job, with plans to move to Philadelphia with and marry his girlfriend (Susan Sarandon), which would leave Burns no one to cover this historic story.
Burns is not a sentimental man. He’ll do anything to keep Hildy and through the span of the film, he practically does. But soon he doesn’t have to resort to his tricks as Hildy’s journalistic obsession kicks in and he finds himself smack dab in the middle of the story, literally face-to-face with Williams after the convict escapes, leading the entire police force on a citywide search.
Hildy hides the man and begins to write his exclusive, leaving his fiancée to wonder if they will ever get out of the city and get to their wedding.
Carol Burnett is Mollie Malloy, a lady of the night who is smitten with Williams and will do anything to keep him from being hung. Vincent Gardenia is the sheriff, Harold Gould is the mayor and, rounding out this A-list cast, are David Wayne, Charles Durning, Herb Edelman, and Jon Krokes.
With Burns running the show, so to speak, he is not about to let his prize reporter leave. Together they concoct a scheme to keep Williams under wraps and get the story of the century.
This is definitely a farcical story with a top notch cast, and there is always great chemistry between Lemmon and Matthau, who co-starred in 11 films and were considered one of Hollywood’s greatest comedy duos, despite the fact they each had separate careers. When they joined together, they were magic.
“The Front Page” is now available on Blu-ray.