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Monday, March 01, 2021

The News Game As It Was, Or Never Was?

 


His Girl Friday, But Not Necessarily Mine



Above is a title that opens His Girl Friday. For me, it washes up the picture before it starts. What do they mean, “The Dark Ages”? Ten years before? More recently than that? Looks like the lead for a newspaper story, in this case a chicken-hearted one. Bet someone put pressure on Columbia to add this. Means of “Getting That Story” had evidently changed, reporting now a responsible pursuit, unlike days best put behind us. Oh yeah? “Incidentally You Will See In This Picture No Resemblance To The Men and Women Of The Press Of Today,” such conduct unthinkable to kid-glove practitioners of journalism in 1940. I am as result distanced from His Girl Friday going in, more appreciative of 1931’s The Front Page, which had no such caveat, all the better as lately restored to what US audiences saw first-run. When did the press become hall monitors as to how they were depicted? Certainly not two years earlier when Too Hot To Handle came out. Or 1937 and Nothing Sacred. “Well, Once Upon A Time” completes the surrender, a too-cute distancing of His Girl Friday from any sort of contemporary reality. Why not set it in the late twenties or early thirties, when “Getting That Story” Justified Anything Short of Murder”? 1940 had a Code alright, often enforced by interests powerful enough to make movies dance to their tune. Lots like today, if not operated on the Grand scale we cope with.



The Front Page
is dark and a little gamey. People in it are not attractive. His Girl Friday announces itself, past that toadying text, as a gay lark with movie-starry sorts you want to be just like. Tobacco auctioners talk slower, this basis for one gag, a device to flatter those with as-quick minds, while others less invested feel for slower-witted Ralph Bellamy. I suspect many who adore His Girl Friday picture themselves on Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell terms. No harm there … I grew up wanting to be Basil Rathbone. HGF is treasured especially by past press people (nowadays they’re all PPP’s) looking back to when they were brash, seen-it-all, cynical in a fuzzy, do-the-right-thing-at-the-end sort of way. I bet real reporters identified much closer with Pat O’ Brien and Menjou in the 1931 version, more so the scruffy lot supporting them. Evidence suggests frontline newsmen liked a mirror that was Kirk Douglas in Ace In The Hole, a character closest to precode since precode. Cary Grant can treat people shabbily and we still want to be him, or be with him, that less because his editor is a model than simple fact he is Cary Grant. Grant is as high-octane in His Girl Friday as I ever saw him, a performance to confirm once and for all his extraordinary skill. A long middle section loses him, and he’s missed, His Girl Friday in that respect a Hound of the Baskervilles of comedy.



Clearly the 20’s roared too loudly for sensibilities in 1940. For instance, hangings as mode of execution. The Front Page dotes upon the scaffold, texture of rope a concern lest it fail to properly snap a man’s neck. His Girl Friday does not linger there. A last public hanging had taken place in Kentucky, 1937, no more done legally in the US until 1976. The Front Page has black humor in abundance, and there is a shooting onscreen when jailed Earl Williams makes his escape. The play had been strong meat on Broadway and no less was expected of the film. Critics in the 30’s extolled The Front Page for bare-knuckle storytelling. I have not seen evidence of its being reissued. Doubt The Front Page would have gotten a PCA Seal had there been a submission. Loss of access kept it warm in the bosom of reviewers. Otis Ferguson used a mixed review of His Girl Friday to recall happier experience of the original, “When they made The Front Page the first time, it stayed made.” William K. Everson located a worn 16mm print from Germany, run for his class at the New School in 1974, him assuring the group it was “almost certainly the only print that will be available from this point on.” Everson placed The Front Page among best of early talkies, due in large part to Lewis Milestone’s energetic direction. "There is no question the original is by far the better film," said Everson, "its characters real flesh and blood people as opposed to the cardboard figures of the remake." His Girl Friday was "undeniably funnier," however.



I never laugh at His Girl Friday, maybe for being suspicious of comedies that so loudly announce themselves as comedy. Humor works best for me where it is incidental to “serious” matters, even if those are not to be taken seriously. There needs to be some sort of threat, which His Girl Friday does not have. Overhanging suspense is a reason why Some Like It Hot works so splendidly, even if proposed as fall-down funny. Hawks’ own The Thing has more laughs in spite of, actually because of, scares nibbling round its edge. His Girl Friday barely wonders if “Earl Williams” will hang, then if he will be caught once he escapes. I am not concerned either way, having no investment whatever in Earl. This was true also in The Front Page, but in that case, Earl was just a prop and no one was expected to care a hoot about him. His Girl Friday wants to humanize Earl and appeal to my conscience with him. There is a killjoy moment where “Hildy” (R. Russell) dresses down what she sneeringly calls “Gentlemen” of the press for their impoliteness toward Earl’s girlfriend (or girl friend as Helen Mack’s “Mollie Malloy” characterizes herself). They bow meekly and are silent where I wish they’d throw spent cigars and paper cups at Hildy. Where does she come off judging these guys, reading a riot act to colleagues trying to do their job same as her? Smartly tailored though she is, Russell has no s.a.. Trouble I realize is my wanting them all to be Linda Darnell, so do pardon superficial personal taste. Still though, I must like His Girl Friday OK for taking minor issues so serious.



The Front Page
and His Girl Friday had entered the Public Domain by the 70’s, were duped (badly) onto 16mm and later home video. His Girl Friday was “taught” by film instructors along auteur lines. I wonder if it occurred to students that the film was supposed to be enjoyed as comedy. His Girl Friday benefited at the time for director and stars still around to recall it, plus Hawks in loop mode on how he dreamed up the gender switch, another idea sprung off many fathers. What distances us from old films since 70’s summit is participants going, going, then gone altogether, like realizing one day there is no one left from World War Two, a point at which we’ve more-less arrived. Ironic to have had vet stars in many cases hale/hearty, at least ambulatory, while past work looked for a most part miserable (especially Girl Friday dupes). Now creators from the era are departed, while their films fairly gleam. Something oddly backwards about that. Much discussion has revolved around ad-libbing by Friday cast, lines contributed by crew, “side” scribes hired to speed pace further. Credited writer Charles Lederer died in 1976, poor health for several years prior to that, interviewed once by Peter Bogdanovich, but I have not come across a published transcript. Authors of the source play Ben Hecht (d. 1964) and Charles MacArthur (1956) did not, to my knowledge, discuss His Girl Friday in hindsight. Morrie Ryskind's autobiography, published in 1994, reminisced in brief on HGF. Point is these contributors had little if any opportunity to answer modern wisdom as to how the film came to be what it is.



I wonder how His Girl Friday would stand with a fresh audience, ideally in their twenties, and not instructed on how to respond by an academic/historian fanbase. Unlikely to happen, for who’d gather to watch His Girl Friday, or any black-and-white feature, outside venerable age groups? (for that matter, who's going to "gather" period) Young folks have their own definition of classic movies, and I bet few of selections date before 1990, a year that seems all too recent for me, but hold on, that’s over thirty years ago. Ones of us in the 70’s, fewer but still some in the 80’s, knew B/W from kid days before households had a color tube (many, of course, never did). Attitudes since are calcified in opposition to a format utterly alien. It is one thing to tolerate novelty of a commercial or music video done monochrome, but a full-length movie is asking too much. Film history has amounted to a series of dividing lines. Silent to sound, theatres to television, black-and-white to color. Gilbert Seldes reviewed a 1950 reprint of The Film Till Now, by Paul Rotha and Richard Griffith, for Films In Review (July-August 1950). Seldes had written books addressing the industry, gave vent to feelings of his own with regard gulfs between those born since the late 20’s who knew only talking pictures, and elders who were there before parade’s went by. Seldes' epiphany of seventy-years ago is worth revisiting:



… I took some young people to see Chaplin in “City Lights”
(the 1950 reissue). Then I had a moment of illumination. I understood that we who lived through the era of the silent film had something the present generation lacks. I remember my resentment against people who told me in 1917 that if you hadn’t seen Paris before the war, you didn’t know what life is, or words to that effect. I hope no one will resent my saying that if you didn’t know the silent movie, the excitement of watching it create itself before your eyes, you missed something, and, in a sense, you don’t know what the movies are. We who went through it know something special; we are, cinematically speaking, a race apart. Was Gilbert Seldes right, not only in 1950, but today? Do none of us really know what the movies are for not having been around before sound? (I worry less about Paris, never having gone there anyway). To ignore or disdain black-and-white movies would be to renounce movies altogether so far as I’m concerned, but generations since would dispute that, and it isn’t going to be long until there is no one of our lot to hold the fort. Will black-and-white become as obscure and barely seen as silents are today? Consider what would happen if someone turned off the lights at TCM tomorrow. What we love would not be long becoming so much Sanskrit.


Greenbriar visits Billy Wilder's 1974 The Front Page at Greenbriar Archive HERE.

22 Comments:

Blogger William Ferry said...

Thanks for another perceptive review. My take is THE FRONT PAGE *is* THE FRONT PAGE. Lee Tracy would have been great, but Pat O'Brien was a good fit. Side note: ever notice how often Pat plays a fast talking creep? Check out TORRID ZONE, IN CALIENTE, or GARDEN OF THE MOON: he's not a nice guy in any of them.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY, on the other hand, is a funny comedy that only has some relation to TFP. Billy Wilder's later career remake? I love Lemmon/Matthau, but it would have been so much better...if it was made 20 years earlier. The trio were old pros, and they almost pull it off, but that's just it: they were OLD.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

I was one of those "taught" 'My Girl Friday' way back in the seventies; it was but one of a group of Howard Hawks' films, none of which I had ever seen before. I had never even heard of that name before I took that college course. I thought then as I do now that they are all, each and every one of them, fun to watch.

But I have found that it's not only younger people who won't watch B&W if they have any say in the matter; among my friends and acquaintances, I was not surprised that neither silent nor subtitled films weren't welcome, but some of them have a lack of tolerance for B&W which surprises me. "Black and white? Bah! That's too old, don't you have anything newer and in color at least?"

On the other hand, those same people have found color films I've shown them from the fifties and even earlier very enjoyable, so it must be a "technical objection", rather than anything necessarily to do with the style or content of the films themselves. Kind of like when I won't watch an otherwise good film because of a bad print or transfer to disc, or if it is presented with an incorrect aspect ratio, or if it's film originally shot in B&W that's been colorized.

1:03 PM  
Blogger James Abbott said...

Wait a minute! I STILL want to be Basil Rathbone ... when and if I grow up.

I think His Gal Friday is a hoot, but -- even with the opening credits caveat -- am shocked by how alternately tame and mean it is at the same time. It's like a cute puppy that insists on peeing on your couch.

I would've paid real money to see Lee Tracy -- long one of my faves.

I liked the Wilder Front Page a great deal when I was 10 ... but haven't seen it since!

4:26 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

HIS GIRLFRIEND FRIDAY is probably the most overrated and boring of all comedies made by Hollywood, even a dubbed version can't save this film. Everything the chemistry between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell is non existent and everything feels too superficial and the film looks by far cheaper and less appealing than any of short comedies that Columbia was producing at the time. After the opening minutes everything becomes claustrophobic filmed theater, and not well despite good comedians in supporting roles that are constantly spoiled by the main stars.

THE FRONT PAGE, however, is a great film with a lot of imagination to avoid any kind of claustrophobia with a superior cast. Even the unrestored versions are better than Howard Hawks's dud.

6:59 PM  
Blogger DBenson said...

There was a 1988 remake titled "Switching Channels", starring Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner set in the world of cable news. Roger Ebert liked it (possibly because of a clear fondness for the original and "His Girl Friday", and the old newspaper mythology), but I never got around to seeing it and had forgotten it entirely until this post brought it to mind.

1969's "Gaily Gaily", based on an autobiographical novel by Ben Hecht, is set in 1910 and has its young hero teamed with a fast-talking, Hildy-esque reporter. It's a big, broad comedy with some weird black comedy, including the hero's first newspaper assignment: get a photo of a rape victim from her family. This last practice was referenced in "The Front Page" and sanitized in "His Girl Friday" when Hildy mentions talking old ladies out of pictures. Another caper involved spiriting away the body of a felon to a strange scientist who claimed he can reanimate the dead. Said felon, in on the plan, goes through his execution with (misplaced) cheer. A critic described it as feeling like a musical comedy, and it does have that big budget fluffiness.

I spent my career on the business side of a newspaper (see comment on "The Hucksters" post), and remember the newsroom was never as noisy and crowded as in the movies. Part of the reason was that there were separate morning and evening editions, so you rarely had more than half the total staff at their desks at any one time. The most cinematic moments came after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, with an editor standing on a desk calling out assignments almost as soon as the building stopped shaking. The wonder that's largely lost now is how everything -- news, advertising, printing, and trucking -- happened in that one building. Sure, there were bureau offices and supplements -- Sunday funnies and color ad inserts -- were printed elsewhere. But even as a humble ad flack, I knew the thrill of seeing something I put together coming off the presses that same day.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Dave K said...

Wow! Am trying to remember disagreeing so completely with any post of yours, John (not to mention radiotelefonia's usually on point comments.) THE FRONT PAGE certainly was an energetic early talkie, blessed with two dynamic performances and pre-code grit. But it shrinks, nay, shrivels in comparison to HIS GIRL FRIDAY sez I. Don't get me wrong. I am not a particular Howard Hawks buff and am particularly not a particular Howard Hawks comedy buff (please spare me the ones with the creepy stalker women... yikes!) But MGF is pretty darn perfect by my sights, with director and the entire cast at the top of their collective game. I remember viewing FRONT PAGE about a month after seeing the remake and thinking how static Milestone's staging certain scenes seemed with the Hawks version still fresh in my mind. Sure enough, the late lamented streaming service FilmStruck had a lovely featurette comparing exact scenes from 1931 with 1940 and there was no mistaking the thought and purposefulness Hawks invested in the blocking and business in every shot, highlighting plot and character points with every decision.

As someone who has seen HGF with a large-ish audience within recent time (okay,okay... if you consider less than 20 years recent!) I can say the thing kills as a comedy. Or killed. And this is absolutely true... my thirty something daughter called just last week. No, really, last week. She saw HIS GIRL FRIDAY for the first time last month. And RAVED about. And what do you think her top take away was? Rosalind Russell! Strong, powerful, sexy (yeah, she said that) woman who owns the room. And my kid was not exactly familiar with the actress.

The black and white issue is still a thing I guess, but of course a quick scan of stuff on the streaming services will prove there are even people still making black white films from time to time. And that little prologue title that unsettled you? Seriously? I'm afraid, John, I have always taken that in the same spirit as those little codas at the end of the Hitchcock TV show where Sir Alfred with a totally straight face assures us the spouse killer we just saw get away with murder was subsequently apprehended and convicted off camera. In other words the Standards and Practices people been mollified, now let's get on with it!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew Clark said...

I remember reading in Frank Capra's "The Name Above The Title", how the Washington press took offence at how the press corp is portrayed in "Mister Smith Goes To Washington". Which was also produced by Columbia. So, maybe, Harry Cohen didn't want to have deal with a lot of bad press?

9:59 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

By all means, take me with a grain of salt, Dave K. Remember, I'm the odd duck who rhapsodized over CAIN AND MABEL back in November.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Count me among the many who prefer The Front Page to His Girl Friday, but that's mainly due to my dislike for Russell, whom I always see as trying desperately hard to be likeable and a "movie star." Plug Stanwyck in there and you might have something. (Though that can be said for pretty much any movie from 1930-1950.)

Speaking of miscasting, TFP suffers from it, but still triumphs. In the imaginary cinema in my head, Lee Tracy and Louis Wolheim are still at each other's throats. O'Brien commits his usual mistake of mistaking barking his lines in a monotone for acting, and despite Menjou's real-life odiousness, he's not sleazy enough for Walter. (The least said about Wilder's smutty and vulgar version, the better.)

You know what drives me craziest about HGF? That people insist on hitting the pronoun in the title. Hildy is not Walter's girl; she's his girl Friday: his assistant and helper. (I know that's not how the plot works, but the title doesn't make any sense anyway.) If the emphasis should be placed anywhere, it's on the last word or last two words, but not the first.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Cary Grant is a made up person. The real man behind the mask is Archie Leach who said, "Lots of people want to be Cary Grant. I'd like to be Cary Grant."

I had 16mm copies of THE FRONT PAGE (Lots of hair in the frame) and HIS GIRL FRIDAY (gorgeous) from the best available source for those titles. All other prints were duped from his. I ran them in a theater in Toronto on a double bill when the Billy Wilder version came out. The place was packed for each show but to my consternation most of the audience left after THE FRONT PAGE. They did not realize HIS GIRL FRIDAY was the same story told with much more fun.

I ran and run silent films to contemporary audiences. Been doing that since the 1960s. My audiences were always large and always appreciative. Because I was in there with them monitoring the scores I had created on reel to reel tape I have had more direct experience of audience reaction than most. My job with the music was to create a score that fit the film like a tailor made suit. That meant watching the film three times silent BEFORE I began to score it. The first was to get the film into my head. The second was to then allow the film to create its own score in my head. The third was to take note of where specific instruments were used on screen so they I could get the sound of them on the soundtrack I was creating as otherwise I feel the viewer not hearing what s/he imagines can be taken out of the film. With CITY LIGHTS I observed that at every screening 10% of the audience had to be allowed to sit and absorb that remarkable ending. I probably created my scores the same way Chaplin created his films. One producer observed that HIS GIRL FRIDAY is really GUNGA DIN (the link being Ben Hecht).

radiotelefonia: Say "For me, HIS GIRL FRIDAY is the most boring." That's valid. Clearly it is for you. But for myself and the many others I have seen the film with (as well as tons of others I have not seen it with) the film is wonderful.

Too often folks mistake their subjective reaction to be everyone's reaction. Almost always it isn't.

Thankfully the original FRONT PAGE as well as HIS GIRL FRIDAY are both available in digital versions that do justice to the pictures.

If your friends don't like black and white movies and silent films get new friends.

A woman walking out of a screening I did here of NOSFERATU set to the music of RADIOHEAD said, "This place is so cool. Why don't you show films with color and sound?"

Of course, not only do I show films with color and sound my sound system is better than that found in most theaters meaning the audience can really FEEL the sound.

I asked her never to return.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Did you want to be Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes or as The Sheriff of Nottingham?

While I love the movies I preferred the books on which many were based. The movies had to leave so much out. Often THE CODE and THE CATHOLIC LEGION OF DECENCY forced the books to be castrated (bowdlerized) for the screen. PURE FLICKS does the same today. I consider the people to ascribe to that convention abominations.

As long as we continue to write and talk about these films we are working to keep them alive in minds new to the scene.

No one looks at The Mona Lisa and says, "That's an old painting." I look forward to the day people look at THE FRONT PAGE and CITY LIGHTS (as well as all other films) with the same eyes.

Timeless works have been created throughout time.

My 16mm print of THE FRONT PAGE was so poor I never showed it publicly after that first screening. Never watched it again, either. I think I will do so today on the BIG screen down stairs.

With COVID I am conserving power and using my monitor for most things with now and then a 3D treat on the big screen downstairs.

Nonetheless while I am deliriously happy with the digital age we are now enjoying I remember with great love the men who spent serious money out of their own pockets creating often beautiful (sometimes not depending on the source) 16mm prints of films both in and out of copyright so that we, the people who valued them, could see them and share them with others.

That sharing part is important. It is how the audience grows.

We spent hundreds on those 16mm prints that were vulnerable to breaking, scratching,shrinking, vinegar syndrome and, with color, fading. Depending on the source we got re-recorded or duped (fuzzy, low volume) soundtracks.

I don't complain about DVD and Blu-ray prices. We pay way less today,are guaranteed way more and can rest knowing The FBI is not going to arrive at our door.

10:33 AM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

Reg: My opinion is not 100% subjective and I still believe that HIS GIRLFRIEND FRIDAY has been overrated beyond its merits.

I have found nothing funny in it. It is a B film almost stuck to a single set, done with less budget than a Columbia short with a non imaginative presentation. The relationship between the three leads is so fake that the end feels too absurd.

For movies dealing with journalism, I prefer by far ALL DOLLED UP which it is available almost in a complete form thanks to me because I myself translated to English an incomplete version from the Eye Film Institute and used a synopsis of the film from Brazil, which I also translated, to fill up for the lost scenes.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

While my wife has grown to our "Pre-Code Movie Evenings", I'd show her "His Girl Friday" over "The Front Page" -- even if the latter is better, particularly in its restored version.

In response to an earlier comment, "Bringing Up Baby" is the most overrated comedy ever. No wonder Hepburn landed on the Box Office Poison list. My God, what an awful, annoying movie.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

'Bringing Up Baby' was another one of the titles they 'taught' during that film course more than forty years ago; I enjoyed it for the farce that it is, but what I really remember that first time through was being taken aback, almost struck dumb, by Katherine Hepburn's beauty - this was the very first time I had ever seen a Kate Hepburn movie in my life - before this, I had only glimpsed her as a old wrinkly person on TV, doing guest spots on TV talk shows, and not very often at that; simply put, I had had no idea whatsoever that she was so very beautiful as a young lady. A real looker. That's what I remember about that film - that pleasant surprise.
As to whether or not it's over-rated, I can't say.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jim Cobb said...

Interesting post though I disagree as I love HIS GIRL FRIDAY. But your column did inspire me to watch the THE FRONT PAGE tonight.... in the Criterion blu ray for HIS GIRL FRIDAY it is included in a nicely restored version. Sadly for me I found it slow and stagey despite Milestone's frantically moving camera. I would have loved to see what Lee Tracy might have done with Hildy.

As to your points about difficulty getting people to watch black and white films, that is more and more true. So much of film history I love is felt to be ancient now. I am glad we have TCM to maybe help keep it alive but I do wonder sometimes how much longer it can last. Even my younger sister who is 64 recently refused to watch a Fred Astaire movie because it was too old.

10:58 PM  
Blogger tmwctd said...

Am flabbergasted that somebody would not enjoy HGF. Bellamy´s befuddlement, Russell taking over the room, Grant accusing Bellamy´s mother of being a souse - just some of the great moments and that´s not even mentioning Billy Gilbert´s short but hilarious scene.
Have watched and enjoyed The Front Page just recently but can`t remember laughing a lot - rather slow compared to HGF. But to each his own...

Concerning b/w movies - I think it was in Nick Hornby´s "State Of The Union" - Rosamund Pike and Chris O`Dowd discussing some things in their marriage where they told each other some white lies. Pike confesses to movie freak O´Dowd: "Watching black-and-white movies for me is like being forced to eat your veggies."
Would not surprise me if a lot of people think like that...

4:26 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer makes his FRONT PAGE/HGF choice:


Of the two, I prefer “The Front Page” to “His Girl Friday.” There is a rough edge to it that finds a basis in a world in which men can be literally hung by the neck until they are dead, and politicians, however ludicrous they may seem in their corruption and mendacity, still have that very deadly authority of carrying out such executions. Call it a gallows humor, then. “His Girl Friday” is fast and stylish, but, as you note, it persists in the make believe threat of the gallows and not the gas chamber or electric chair, which were the preferred means of execution in 1940. It is a telling point. Without that grounding in death, nothing happens in it that has any meaning, no more than the marvelously obtuse character played by Ralph Bellamy can feel even a moment’s sadness for losing the love of his life. Now, Mary Brian has a heart that one should not want to lose, making the game played by Adolph Menjou with a callow Pat O’Brien even more despicable. Between necks strung and hearts broken, “The Front Page” is a mordant brew compared to the fizziness of “His Girl Friday.”

It is a matter of taste, of course, for which there is no disputing.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

I like both versions. "The Front Page" has a better backing cast of boys in the newsroom, while "His Girl Friday" has Ralph Bellamy.

As to technological dividing lines, my recent review of some big-budget action movies of the 1990s has reminded me that 1993 or 1994 was about when movies began being designed for and released in surround sound - another important technological before/after moment in the development of big-screen fantasy-spectacle.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

There may be no disputing matters of taste, but in today's science news....

Artificial Intelligence reads brain data, generates personally attractive images

https://techxplore.com/news/2021-03-beauty-brain-ai-personally-images.html

Excerpt:
"Researchers have succeeded in making an Artificial Intelligence understand our subjective notions of what makes faces attractive. The device demonstrated this knowledge by its ability to create new portraits that were tailored to be found personally attractive to individuals. The results can be used, for example, in modeling preferences and decision-making as well as potentially identifying unconscious attitudes. "

7:35 AM  
Blogger Dr. OTR said...

I have to admit to never having seen The Front Page. I screened His Girl Friday to my kids (ages 11 and 16 at the time), plus my wife (who'd seen it before). The kids *loved* it. We often had to pause and back up because the dialog is so fast, but they ate it up. I have seen the film several times, and I have a great fondness for it. Can't imagine anyone not finding it funny, but then again much of the humor is actually fairly subtle, despite the ratatat speed of delivery.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

hmm. I always thought that opening title about "nothing like the press today" ...was meant to be taken as a wisecrack.

Taken in context of the film, which is as flippant and cynical as anything ever...there is no way I could ever read that as a serious disclaimer.

1:51 AM  
Blogger William Lund said...

As someone who taught American History to High School students, I used several films to illustrate the 20th Century. From the "jazz age" 20s (Harold Lloyd in "The Freshman") to the depression era (William Wellman's "wild Boys of the Road")students got a flavor of the era. I always had student write about the era and the films we viewed. One student in after viewing "Wild Boys" said, he liked the film, but the black and white "hurt" his eyes. (This comment although sad about the present day youth,just about had me on the floor laughing). Great posts on these films!

7:59 AM  

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