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Front Page Woman

(1935 b 82')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on Richard Macauley's novel Women Are Bum Newspapermen, rival reporters, who want to marry, compete for a murder story.

When reporter Ellen Garfield (Bette Davis) faints at an electrocution, Curt Devlin (George Brent) covers for her by sending in his story to her paper too. Curt and Ellen love each other, and he suggests marriage; but she wants to be a reporter. Ellen apologizes to her editor, and Curt is in trouble with his paper too. Ellen goes to a fire, but police keep her away; she misses the murder story Curt got. Ellen needs a better story and gets a policeman to help her find Marvin Stone at the hospital, where he dies of a stabbing. She calls in the story. Curt bets Ellen marriage if he can get a better story of the murder.

Curt clips Stone's clothes at the hospital, finding his tailor and learning the woman is probably Latin from a perfumer. This leads him and photographer Toots (Roscoe Karns) to Stone's girl Inez (Wini Shaw). She and Maitland Coulter were with Stone at the fire. Curt goes to the police, and they arrest Coulter. Curt shows Ellen his news story, and she goes to find Inez from her laundry slip. Curt and Toots follow her. Inez and her brother Robert (J. Carrol Naish) catch Ellen at the door, and Toots from the window takes a photo of Robert holding a gun on Ellen. Ellen starts a fire, gets the gun, and asks for the story. Curt brings the police for the arrest. Ellen shows Curt her interview of Inez. Curt kisses her and calls it luck. Police allow Curt but not Ellen to hear them question Inez. Ellen manages to listen and learns the police need the knife. Curt and Toots search Stone's apartment and find the knife; but Ellen is not "cut in" on the story.

The trail is reported. Curt peeks into the jury room while Toots diverts the janitor. Curt reports the jury vote is guilty, but leaves false not-guilty ballots for Ellen to find and report. The judge (Walter Walker) sees one paper announcing guilty and one not guilty. The jury says guilty. Ellen calls her editor and is fired, as the Star frantically buys up the first edition. Ellen drinks with Inez, while the judge arrests Curt. In jail Curt tells his boss to hire Ellen. She shows him her story that Inez confessed to killing Stone. Curt admits she is a "good newspaperman," and they kiss through the jail bars.

Snappy dialog livens this feminist story that shows Ellen overcoming sexist police treatment of reporters to get good stories anyway, earning the respect of her future husband.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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