The Race to Save the Films We Love
Source: New York Times
Author: Manhola Dargis
Excerpt: If you have ever seen the 1931 film of “The Front Page,” based on the jauntily cynical play, you might have been startled by the moment when a wisecracking newspaperman silences his machine-gun-fast patter to raise his middle finger at the mayor and sheriff. Is this what the New York Times reviewer Mordaunt Hall was thinking of when he wrote that the film’s humor is “frequently harsh”?
Probably not. That’s because in the version of “The Front Page” that New York papers likely reviewed back in 1931, that hack keeps his middle finger in check and instead mock-salutes the mayor and the sheriff. As it turns out, the film seen in the United States for decades isn’t the same version that American audiences guffawed through back in the day. The one that Michael Pogorzelski and Heather Linville took out of old film cans in 2014 was surprisingly different from the familiar one.
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