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Continuity Editing in 'His Girl Friday' (1940)
by Brett Service `

In this restaurant scene from 'His Girl Friday' (1940), Howard Hawks demonstrates classical continuity editing by setting up this restaurant scene in wide shot and then cutting in to close-ups that maintain proper screen direction. Notice how edits are hidden through matches on action as Bruce (Ralph Bellamy) sits and Walter (Cary Grant) stands. Also, notice how Hawks "cheats" by altering the space between the characters: they sit closer to each other in the two-shots than in the establishing shot where all three are visible from the front. Walter can't be sitting six inches away from both Hildy (Rosalind Russell) and Bruce at the same time (as he appears in the two-shots) while also sitting equidistant from each (maybe two feet apart) in the frontal establishing shot. These "cheats" are hidden by the smoothness and invisibility of the classical Hollywood style that Hawks deploys so effortlessly.

 

 

This Commentary is related to the following Clips:
His Girl Friday (1940): Restaurant Scene by Howard Hawks (1940) In 'His Girl Friday' (1940), Howard Hawks demonstrates classical continuity editing by setting up this restaurant scene in wide shot and then cutting in to close-ups that maintain proper screen direction.