Tom Powers: Ain’t you got a drink in the house?
Kitty: Well, not before breakfast, dear.
Tom Powers: I didn’t ask you for any lip. I asked you if you had a drink.
Kitty: I know Tom, but I, I wish that. . .
Tom Powers: . . .there you go with that wishin’ stuff again. I wish you was a wishing well, so that I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya.
Kitty: Well, maybe you’ve found someone you like better.
Tom Powers: [smashes a grapefruit in her face]
This is one of those early transitioning to sound-era ceremonies where most of the films that were nominated for Best Picture are hard to watch by your average modern moviegoer. The technology was still catching up with itself and everything looks kind of raw. That being said, the stories were as great as ever. I chose The Front Page to discuss from this ceremony because its director Lewis Milestone was clearly trying to experiment with filming techniques regardless of the setbacks caused by the sound transition. The result is a film filled with really interesting camera movements and staging unlike most films made during this transitional era. Another interesting thing about this film is how many times this story was made into a film, this 1931 effort being the first. It’s based on a stage play of the same name by Ben Hect and Charles MacArthur, with the screenplay adapted by Bartlett Cormack and Charles Lederer. Hect and MacArthur’s play was later adapted into Howard Hawk’s 1940 screwball comedy His Girl Friday – with a screenplay by Lederer, Hect and MacArthur, actually – and again in 1972 by Billy Wilder under its original name and a fourth time in 1988 under the name Switching Channels. The Front Page was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning none: Best Actor Adolphe Menjou, Best Director and Best Picture.