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Making Light of the Dark: Understanding the World of His Girl Friday

Making Light of the Dark: Understanding the World of His Girl Friday james walters The Meaning of Worlds in the final sentence of a study of performance in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Andrew Klevan makes claim for a particular achievement of the film's cast, whereby "they embrace [the plot's] linearity to create other dimensions, seamlessly, so that straightforward narratives become worlds" (102). Although focused closely on the special intricacy of the central performances in Hitchcock's film, Klevan's remark holds further value for the broader study of cinema, referencing the extent to which our horizons for speculation about a film's fictional world can often surpass the somewhat narrower concerns of plot development and, crucially, how such conjecture is profoundly influenced by the complex behavior of people in films. The following discussion expands on these two issues, outlining in precise terms some ways in which the actions and attitudes of characters in Howard Hawks's His Girl Friday (1940) function to construct the tone and nature of the fictional world they inhabit and the extent to which an appreciation of this fundamentally shapes our understanding of Hawks's film. The intricate tenor of His Girl Friday's fictional world motivates its selection. Although undeniably comedic (often described as "screwball"), the film harbors http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

Making Light of the Dark: Understanding the World of His Girl Friday

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 60 (3-4) – Oct 3, 2008

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
ISSN
1934-6018
Publisher site
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Abstract

james walters The Meaning of Worlds in the final sentence of a study of performance in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Andrew Klevan makes claim for a particular achievement of the film's cast, whereby "they embrace [the plot's] linearity to create other dimensions, seamlessly, so that straightforward narratives become worlds" (102). Although focused closely on the special intricacy of the central performances in Hitchcock's film, Klevan's remark holds further value for the broader study of cinema, referencing the extent to which our horizons for speculation about a film's fictional world can often surpass the somewhat narrower concerns of plot development and, crucially, how such conjecture is profoundly influenced by the complex behavior of people in films. The following discussion expands on these two issues, outlining in precise terms some ways in which the actions and attitudes of characters in Howard Hawks's His Girl Friday (1940) function to construct the tone and nature of the fictional world they inhabit and the extent to which an appreciation of this fundamentally shapes our understanding of Hawks's film. The intricate tenor of His Girl Friday's fictional world motivates its selection. Although undeniably comedic (often described as "screwball"), the film harbors

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Oct 3, 2008

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