The reteaming of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, in a Billy Wilder remake of a famous 1920s period newspaper story, The Front Page, with a featured spot by Carol Burnett, sure looks good on paper. But that's about the only place it looks good. The production has the slick, machine-tooled look of certain assembly line automobiles that never quite seem to work smoothly.

The reteaming of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, in a Billy Wilder remake of a famous 1920s period newspaper story, The Front Page, with a featured spot by Carol Burnett, sure looks good on paper. But that’s about the only place it looks good. The production has the slick, machine-tooled look of certain assembly line automobiles that never quite seem to work smoothly.

The 1928 play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur has, in this third screen version, been ‘liberated’ from old Production code restraints. The extent of the liberation appears to be in the tedious use of undeleted expletives.

The basic story takes place in a Chicago police press room on the eve of a politically-railroaded execution of a supposed radical who killed a cop in a scuffle.

Matthau and Lemmon again demonstrate their fine screen empathy.

The Front Page

Production

Universal. Director Billy Wilder; Producer Paul Monash; Screenplay Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond; Camera Jordan S. Cronenweth; Editor Ralph E. Winters; Music Billy May (adapt.); Art Director Henry Bumstead

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1974. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Jack Lemmon Walter Matthau Carol Burnett Susan Sarandon Vincent Gardenia David Wayne
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