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The Front Page: From Theater to Reality (The Art of Theater Series) Paperback – October, 2002


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The Front Page: From Theater to Reality (The Art of Theater Series) + The Great American Playwrights on the Screen: A Critical Guide to Film, TV, Video and DVD + To Have and Have Not
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Product Details

  • Series: The Art of Theater Series
  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Smith & Kraus Pub Inc; 1 edition (October 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575253100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575253107
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From the introduction by Jed Harris...

"..here is a play which reflects miraculously the real as well as the literary personalities of the playwrights. Every line of it glows with a demoniacal humor, sordid, insolent and mischievous to the point of down right perversity, in which one instantly recognizes the heroic comic spirit of its authors.

Both Hecht and MacArthur owe their literary origins to the newspapers of Chicago. Famous crime reporters, their talents were first cradled in the recounting of great exploits in arson, rape, murder, gang war and municipal politics. Out of a welter of jail breaks, hangings, floods and whore-house raidings, they have gathered the rich, savory characters who disport themselves on the stage to Times Square Theatre.

And though they would be the last to acknowledge it, because they are terrified of the word "charm", they have nevertheless written "The Front Page" with a more innocent and unsynthetic charm than I have ever found..."


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl O. Isaacson on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you love "The Front Page" you're going to love this work detailing the reality behind the drama. An excellent and exhaustive bit of research that sometimes over reaches in its attempt to connect the text of the play with the reality of Hecht's and McArthur's life as Chicago working journalists, nevertheless, this is an invaluable work for my research. I appreciate the care and detail in the basic research. An excellent source book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. A. Strand on April 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am part of a current production of this classic play and wanted to improve my "amateur dramaturge" status by getting the background of the work. I couldn't be more pleased with what I found. Not only does this book have background notes on the history of the play, it also provides an annotated version of the earliest script as researched by the author. (This really helps since the most common acting edition has some obvious mistakes.) The actual figures of 1920's Chicago journalism that are incarnated in the play's wacky characters are identified, together with thorough explanations of historical events, local political and cultural references and even period slang terms that are used in the play. This is a go-to text for directors, producers, dramaturges, actors and dedicated theater buffs who are interested in "getting the scoop" on this American theatrical gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Don E. Black on April 6, 2013
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The first 52 pages provide page turning information how two newspaper crime reporters from Chicago,
and then living and working in NYC, were so homesick for their hometown, they wrote one of the best plays of the century. The play, written by Charles MacArthur & Ben Hecht, centers on corruption in Chicago. The script provides detail information on individuals, known by MacArthur & Hecht, who then used their personal knowledge, to create many of the characters in the play.
The orignial version of the play is also in the book which contains "adult and racial sensitive language". So "adult", the play was not produced in London until the 1970's;the play was first produced in NYC in 1929.
The dialogue is sharp and hilarious. When Hollywood went from "silent' to "talkies" both authors
got the call to go West because of their displayed ability for dialogue in The Front Page.

This book is a must read for directors, artistic directors, producers,actors,and anyone in theatre academia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Johnson on November 29, 2012
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I bought this for a film adaptation class as we were studying the adaptation of this play into the film His Girl Friday. The play first of all is funny, and very different from the film. The notes that come with this edition are exhaustive. Authors Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur were deeply entrenched in the world of journalism and the editor definitely did is homework showing readers how stacked the play is with references to actual people and places around Chicago. There is a lot that the average reader will miss without this guide. Do all these notes really help one understand the adaptation process? I would have to say no, but it does help one understand the play. So if you are going to study this play, definitely get this book.
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By Steek on November 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great idea, mesmerizing book
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