Front Page Woman (1935)

Front Page Woman (1935)
Front Page Woman
Front Page Woman (1935)

Run time: 82 min
Rating: 7.1
Genres: Comedy | Romance
Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: Laird Doyle, Lillie Hayward
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Roscoe Karns
Reporter Davis (in a hand-tailored role) tries to prove that a woman can be as good a “newsman” as any male, so she solves a murder and scoops her boyfriend in the process.  A bright, breezy comedy-drama from Warner Bros., with a good mystery to keep you guessing.
Release Date: 20 July 1935 (USA)

4 responses to “Front Page Woman (1935)”

  1. rgkeenan says:

    Rival reporters Garfield and Devlin are also a couple who delight in scooping each other often to the detriment of their respective papers. Brent and Davis are charming together and have an easy rapport. Curtiz’s workmanlike direction and the rapid fire dialogue still hold up well, helped by the story’s hesitation to endorse traditional male/female roles. If this proto-screwball comedy has a flaw it’s that Garfield never seems a savvy enough rival for Devlin despite topping him to keep their endless competition going. Reminiscent of `The Front Page’ and `His Girl Friday.’ Recommended.

  2. rgkeenan says:

    Greatly enjoyed this Betty Davis film which I had never viewed and found Davis at her very best in appearance and in a very light hearted role she portrayed as Ellen Garfield. I believe Davis was around 27 years of age when she appeared in this film and she was very charming and had a good supporting actor, George Brent, (Curt Devlin) who was a star reporter for his newspaper and was in competition with Ellen Garfield to get the big scoop or headline stopper for their respective newspapers. This couple were also love birds who had intentions to get married only under certain terms they agreed upon together, a sort of contest that would lead to some very important big steps in their lives. Veteran actor Roscoe Karns, (Toots O'Grady) was the photographer for Curt Devlin and gave a great supporting comical role through out the entire picture. This is a very enjoyable 1935 Classic film and I believe that Davis and Brent both gave outstanding performances. Enjoy.

  3. rgkeenan says:

    "Front Page Woman" (1935) uses the same feminist "rivals in business; partners in love" motif that "Traveling Saleslady" (1935) does. However, "Woman" is a murder mystery involving reporters; "Saleslady" is a comedy involving salespersons. Still, it's interesting to compare the two.

    Both films have great supporting performances, excellent pacing, and flawless plots. Playing masters of their fields, both leading men (George Brent) and (William Gargan) perform well. Indeed, a surprisingly animated Brent does, for him, an absolutely charming job. (Perhaps the mutual sexual attraction he and Davis had was the spark behind it.) Where the films differ, however, is in their leading ladies' performances, and in their romantic resolutions.

    Bette Davis, like Joan Blondell, keeps claiming she is her rival's equal. But clearly, unlike Blondell, she is not. She doesn't have Brent's creative mind, his street smarts, his social skills, or his stomach for the job (she faints, for example, at the execution she demanded to attend). When he offers her help, she turns him down, and when, out of revenge, he sets traps for her, she falls into them.

    The film's end, however, does offer redemption. Not only does Davis solve the mystery, and get her job back–she also gets her man. Brent, in a rare feminist resolution for its time, tells her how much he respects what she has done, and seems willing to have her continue working after marriage. (One wonders how much the steel-willed Davis influenced this outcome?) Whether she chooses to, however, is more ambiguous. While Blondell, in stark contrast, blithely tosses away a terrific sales career to placate her "oinky" husband to be.

  4. IMDBReviewer says:

    Bette Davis plays a plucky female reporter who just got the chance to do lead stories–those traditionally done exclusively by men. A rival reporter, George Brent, is in love with her but also has little respect for her "trying to make it in a man's world"–so naturally she refuses to marry a man who doesn't respect her. In the midst of their arguments, Brent proposes a contest to see which can get the biggest scoop during a murder investigation and the subsequent trial. Now this all could have been very predictable or sexist, but somehow both pitfalls were avoided.

    Sure, this isn't the deepest or best film that Bette Davis made in her long and distinguished career, but for the mid-1930s it's pretty good stuff. Although Warner Brothers employed one of the finest actresses of all time in the form of Miss Davis, up until the late 30s, they bounced her around from bad to mediocre to top of the line films and back again! So inconsistent were these roles that even after being Oscar nominated (OF HUMAN BONDAGE) and receiving the Oscar (DANGEROUS), Miss Davis STILL bounced around the studio in predictable programmers, B-movies AND A-films as well. As a result, she walked out of her contract (briefly).

    Despite all this, FRONT PAGE WOMAN was a good film for her career–as it was quite enjoyable, gave her a chance to appear with her favorite leading man (George Brent) and gave her a decent (though not always believable) leading role. The film is a typical battle of the sexes film which weren't especially uncommon during Hollywood's Golden Age and like many of these films (such as PAT AND MIKE and WOMAN OF THE YEAR), it was a lot of fun. Plus, the chemistry between Davis and Brent was wonderful and I wish their films together got more attention–they are always enjoyable even when the writing isn't up to snuff (as in a few of their films together).

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