When hard-charging New York newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) discovers that his ex-wife, ace investigative reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), has gotten engaged to bland insurance agent Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), he unsuccessfully tries to lure her away from tame domestic life. Burns suggest they cover one more story together, getting themselves entangled in the case of murderer Earl Williams as Burns desperately tries to win back his wife. But when Hildy discovers Williams may be innocent, her reporter instincts take over.
- The famous in-joke about Ralph Bellamy’s character (“He looks like that fellow in the movies.. you know, Ralph Bellamy!”) was almost left on the cutting room floor: Harry Cohn, the studio head, saw the dailies and responded in fury at the impertinence, but he let Howard Hawks leave it in, and it has always been one of the biggest laughs in the film.
- Ginger Rogers wrote that she was offered the role of Hildy Johnson. She read the script, but this was before Cary Grant was cast, and she turned it down. After learning that Grant was cast, she regretted it.
- A “girl Friday” is an assistant who carries out a variety of chores. The name alludes to “Friday”, Robinson Crusoe’s native male dogsbody in Daniel Defoe’s novel. According to the Merriam-Webster’s definition, the term was first used in 1940 (the year the film was released).
- This motion picture was released nationally on Cary Grant’s 36th birthday.