Hi, Nellie!

Watch Hi, Nellie!

"See why two little words made by PAUL MUNI tore the town in two!"
  • Passed
  • 1934
  • 1 hr 15 min
  • 6.9  (580)

Hi, Nellie! is a 1934 American pre-Code newspaper film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, and Ned Sparks. Set against the backdrop of a bustling newsroom, this film is a spirited mix of drama, comedy, and romance, featuring the tale of a hard-nosed reporter who faces various obstacles as he delves into a potentially scandalous story.

Paul Muni, renowned for his chameleonic performances, plays the role of managing editor Steve Reynolds, an astute and intrepid journalist who's dedicated his life to chasing headlines and breaking news. Muni's portrayal of Reynolds is both compelling and multifaceted, as he embodies the relentless pursuit of the truth, with a dash of vulnerability that surfaces as the story progresses.

The plot kicks off when Steve is demoted by his newspaper's publisher after a particularly brash piece he pens. He is relegated from his position as a top news reporter to writing the paper's advice column, previously authored under the feminine pseudonym "Nellie Nelson." Initially, this assignment feels like a humiliating setback for Steve, a hard-hitting journalist unaccustomed to dealing with the lovelorn and the troubled souls seeking guidance. However, his fortunes take an unexpected turn when, through the lens of this advice column, he stumbles across a tip that may lead to the biggest scoop of his career.

Glenda Farrell stars as Gerry Krale, a tenacious and savvy reporter who works alongside Steve. Farrell brings a vibrant energy to the role, showcasing a character who can hold her own in the fast-paced, male-dominated world of journalism. Her sly wit and professional ambition make Farrell's Krale an engaging presence on screen and a fitting counterpart to Muni's Steve Reynolds.

Ned Sparks rounds out the central trio as fellow reporter 'Honest' Joe Ellis, an archetype of the gruff but loyal sidekick commonly found in 1930s cinema. Sparks, with his trademark deadpan delivery and knack for sarcastic quips, provides comic relief and a dose of cynicism that contrasts effectively with the more earnest performances of Muni and Farrell.

As Steve digs deeper into the story that's landed on his desk, disguised as a piece of "Nellie Nelson" correspondence, he becomes ensnared in a web of deceit, corruption, and potentially dangerous associates. The film ramps up both the suspense and the pace as it explores themes of integrity, justice, and the role of the media in holding the powerful to account. Through its narrative, Hi, Nellie! makes pointed observations about the ethical dilemmas journalists face and the compromises they often have to make.

The craftsmanship in Hi, Nellie! is indicative of the pre-Code era in Hollywood, with filmmakers enjoying more latitude to address adult themes and social issues before the enforcement of the Production Code in 1934. This era allowed for a narrative that is more daring and less censored than what would be permissible later in the decade, which contributes to the film’s engaging storytelling and character development.

Director Mervyn LeRoy, known for his ability to switch between genres effortlessly, applies his versatile directing skills to make Hi, Nellie! an entertainment piece that's both thought-provoking and delightful. He orchestrates the pace of the newsroom drama with a sense of authenticity, capturing the hustle and fervor of print journalism during its heyday.

Cinematography by Tony Gaudio aids in creating an immersive atmosphere, capturing the frenetic energy of the press environment, and the shadowy realms that Steve navigates as he seeks the truth. The visual style supports the story's dramatic tension while also accentuating the film's lighter, comedic moments.

Hi, Nellie! leverages the strong performances of its lead actors and combines them with a well-written script. Talents behind the screenplay include Abem Finkel and Sidney Sutherland, who adeptly balance the narrative tension with engaging dialogue and character interactions. The film's dialogue crackles with the snappy repartee of the era, mingling wit with the fast-paced demands of news reporting.

Throughout the course of the movie, viewers are treated to the evolution of Steve Reynolds, as he transitions from the headstrong editor initially shown to a character whose humility and personal growth become apparent. His experiences both humbling and enlightening, Steve's journey captures the essence of a man whose professional life is inextricably linked with his sense of self and his commitment to the truth.

With its blend of suspense, humor, and romance, Hi, Nellie! delivers a slice of 1930s cinematic charm. It's a film that not only provides a glimpse into the world of news journalism during an engaging era but also serves as a showcase for the charismatic talents of Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, and Ned Sparks.

Hi, Nellie!
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 15 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (580)