Restoration Spotlight

A Preservationist’s Puzzle: Restoring The Front Page

A Preservationist’s Puzzle: Restoring <em>The Front Page</em>

One of the most acclaimed Hollywood films of 1931, Lewis Milestone’s Oscar-nominated The Front Page was the first of several screen adaptations of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s Broadway smash. In 2014, when the Academy Film Archive embarked on a new restoration, preservationists stumbled onto a mystery regarding the existing prints of the film. While examining material from the Howard Hughes film collection, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Library of Congress, the team discovered that they were working with two different versions: Milestone’s preferred cut, which had been made for domestic audiences, and a general foreign cut. In the following video, the Academy’s Heather Linville and Mike Pogorzelski explain the common early-Hollywood practice of creating versions for different markets, and recount the sleuth work that resulted in the vibrant new incarnation of The Front Page, featured on our release of another take on Hecht and MacArthur’s play, His Girl Friday.

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