Cary Grant on “His Girl Friday”

Hildy: Listen to me, you great big bumble-headed baboon.
Walter: I’ll make it thirty-five bucks and not a cent more.
Hildy: Walter, are you gonna listen?
Walter: But good grief, how much is that other paper gonna pay you?
Hildy: There isn’t any other paper.
Walter: Oh! Well in that case, the raise is off. You go back to your old salary… (The phone rings and he answers it.)
Hildy: Walter, I want to show you something. It’s here. It’s a ring. Take a good look at it. Do you know what it is? It’s an engagement ring. I tried to tell you right away, but you would start reminiscing. I’m getting married, Walter, and I’m also getting as far away from the newspaper business as I can get.
Walter: What?
Hildy: I am through.
Walter: You can marry all you want to, Hildy, but you can’t quit the newspaper business.
Hildy: Oh! Why not?
Walter: I know you, Hildy. I know what quitting would mean to you.
Hildy: And what would it mean?
Walter: It would kill ya.
Hildy: You can’t sell me that, Walter Burns.
Walter: Who says I can’t? You’re a newspaperman.
Hildy: That’s why I’m quitting. I want to go someplace where I can be a woman.
Walter: You mean be a traitor.
Hildy: A traitor? A traitor to what?
Walter: A traitor to journalism. You’re a journalist, Hildy.
Hildy: A journalist? Hell, what does that mean? Peeking through keyholes? Chasing after fire engines? Waking people up in the middle of the night to ask them if Hitler’s gonna start another war? Stealing pictures off old ladies? I know all about reporters, Walter. A lot of daffy buttinskis running around without a nickel in their pockets and for what? So a million hired girls and motormen’s wives’ll know what’s going on. Why… Golly, what’s the use? Walter, you-you wouldn’t know what it means to want to be respectable and live a half-way normal life. The point is, I-I’m through.

Cary Grant has this to say about His Girl Friday:

When I first started in pictures, an actor didn’t have the freedom to interrupt the dialogue. But in “His Girl Friday”, Rosalind Russell and I were constantly interrupting each other. The sound men would say, “We can’t hear you.” And we’d say, “Well, you’re not supposed to hear us. People do interrupt each other, you know.”

And Ralph Bellamy, cast as the sappy goofball (like he always was) who was trying to marry Hildy, said this about Grant’s penchant for improvisation:

On my day off I went to see the rushes from the previous day. What I saw was a complete surprise. Cary was asked to describe my character and says, ‘He looks like, er, that fellow in the movies … you know, Ralph Bellamy.’ Well, that was Cary’s contribution. It was one of the biggest laughs in the picture.

That would be like having some character say to Tom Cruise in Collateral or something; “You know, you look an awful lot like that Tom Cruise guy.”

It’s a wink at the audience. Saying: “You and I both know that none of this is really real, so let’s not take ourselves TOO seriously.”

So next time you see the film, look out for Cary Grant referring to Ralph Bellamy’s character as “that fellow in the movies, Ralph Bellamy”! He made it up on the fly, and Howard Hawks decided to keep it in.

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2 Responses to Cary Grant on “His Girl Friday”

  1. mjf says:

    also the fact that Grant makes a reference to “Arhie Leach”..which is of course his real name… love him…my favorite of his and Roz’s films…funny quip…Roz was married to a producer named Freddie Brisson and was refered to by many in the business as “The Lizard of Roz”…hahaha

  2. david says:

    Great movie—and the first 20 minutes is one of the funniest, fastest, best 20 minutes in movie history. Heh…water buffaloes.

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