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Reporter Curt Devlin loves sob sister Ellen Garfield but believes women are "bum newspapermen". When she learns the identity of a murdered arsonist, he calls it luck. When she goes after the murderer he gets enough evidence to have Maitland Coulter arrested. She finds a bunch of "not guilty" ballots and publishes the wrong story; he eavesdrops on the jury and gets the correct verdict. After being fired she gets a confession from the real killer and gets Coulter released.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
A better than average Bette Davis film from the mid-1930s
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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