The movies of 1939, at 1939's prices The Senator...

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October 11, 2001|By Michael Sragow

The movies of 1939, at 1939's prices

The Senator Theatre kicks off a weeklong celebration tomorrow of the movies of 1939 at 1939 prices - 25 cents per person. The opening attraction is the great Hollywood comedy His Girl Friday, starring Cary Grant as everybody's dream of a hard-boiled newspaper man.

Grant gives us the daily editor as verbal buccaneer, political mover and shaker, manipulator and genius. His character, Walter Burns, is a man who has his fist on the pulse of the nation.

Visually, Grant cuts one of his boldest figures, from the slashing tilt of his head to his springy acrobatic gait. No actor is better at seeming to pull in three directions at once without losing his balance. With his angular poses and his solid center of gravity, Grant anchors this testament to snappy patter.

The movie is based on the play The Front Page, and it tells the same story about on-the-job loyalty, with Burns refusing to let go of his ace reporter, Hildy Johnson, who hopes to quit and get married. While Burns and Johnson spar, a mild-mannered, cop-killing anarchist becomes a political football - and Burns suspects that Johnson won't be able to stay away from the controversy.

In a departure from the play, the movie's Hildy is a woman: a divorcee who used to be married to Burns. Grant and Rosalind Russell (Hildy) share wisecracks the way Astaire and Rogers share dance steps.

The week's other movies are Destry Rides Again (Saturday), Bachelor Mother (Sunday), Rules of the Game (Monday), Jamaica Inn (Tuesday), It's a Wonderful World (Wednesday) and Let Freedom Ring (Thursday). The Senator is located at 5904 York Road. Call for show times: 410-435-8338.

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