Subtractive creations

Howard Hawks’ 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russel screwball comedy His Girl Friday is probably the greatest cinematic example of nonstop, everyone-talking-at-once comic banter. Well, not-quite nonstop: here an intrepid editor has strung together all eight minutes of clips from the film where nobody is saying anything. It reminds me of another work of subtractive genius I’ve heard about, in which Damion Searls compiled all of the text abridged out of a book called Moby Dick in Half the Time. The result, containing all the odd, astonishing, and confusing bits of Melville’s work and none of the boring old plot, was published under the pruned-off subtltle ; or The Whale.

from “His Girl Friday – Between The Lines Edit,” by Valentin Spirik, 2005. His Girl Friday is available in its entirety here :: via

Originally published at

Add Your Comments