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A Fine Song And Dance

I could never get my friends to watch movies from the 1940s. Mainly because every time we sat down to watch a movie we were beat from school, or work, or hanging out all day to the extent that following the rapid-fire dialogue in, for instance, a Howard Hawks or Preston Sturges film was just too much to work through. Take, for instance, this scene from 1940s classic His Girl Friday, starring Rosalind Russell as a hardcore journalist and Cary Grant as her editor and ex-husband.

Family Guy did a dead-on parody of this style of filmmaking with their Fast Talking, High Trousers:

So, what else is there to do with a movie like that but excise the dialogue and see what remains. That idea was the genesis of 2005's Between The Lines edit of His Girl Friday. It's eight minutes long, pared down from 92, and nothing but looks, breaths, noises and wordless vocalizations. It achieves a great rhythm, evident especially during the phone "conversation", at the five minute mark. It might not make too much sense if you haven't seen the original, but it's up all over the place.

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