This was written as a response to His Girl Friday for History of Cinema class.
In His Girl Friday, Hildy is a reporter who attempts to leave her life as a reporter behind. Walter, her ex-husband and former boss, schemes in an effort to keep her there. However, Hildy would have stayed in the newspaper business even if Walter hadn’t manipulated her and tricked her into writing another story. She would have found an excuse to stay. She is built for the life of a reporter and would not have been able to survive in a life where her role was just to be some man’s wife.
The movie opens with Hildy walking into the newspaper office so she can talk with Walter, her former boss and former husband. We learn during their conversation that the entire reason she showed up that day was to tell him she was engaged. But this is information that could have been sent in a letter or over the phone. Yet she decided to actually show up to the office to tell him. She knows what kind of person he is and that he is capable of manipulating people. Knowing this, it was silly of her to go into the office to tell Walter that she is leaving the newspaper business for good and becoming a wife. She knows this will anger him not only because he was once married to her but also because he knows she is a talented reporter who they cannot afford to lose. She must realize that he would do everything in his power to try and keep her there.
When Walter begins to get Bruce involved, Hildy realizes it and lets it happen. She takes almost every single dollar Bruce has both on his person and to his name because she knows that Walter will try and get his hands on it one way or another. Then later, when Walter gives Bruce a check, Hildy tells him to keep it in the lining of his hat. Hildy is aware of Walter’s little tricks he plays.
Showing up in Walter’s office was in a way Hildy’s last cry for help. She doesn’t really want Bruce or the “normal” life that he offers her up in Albany. Deep down she knows she should stay in the newspaper business but needs an excuse. Walter makes many excuses and though he tries his best and causes many problems for Hildy throughout the movie, it is really being back in the newspaper business atmosphere that draws Hildy back in. One of the reporters says “Did you hear Hildy when that bell went off? She could never leave.” Then later, when Hildy is writing the story for the newspaper on Earl Williams and Bruce is trying to talk to her at the same time she completely ignores Bruce. She becomes so immersed in her reporting that nothing else matters to her. It takes her quite a while after finishing the story to realize that Bruce even made an appearance in the office.
Hildy would have stayed at the newspaper even if Walter hadn’t manipulated everyone around him in an effort to keep her there. Hildy went to the office because she couldn’t stay away and needed to go just one last time. She thought she would have the will power to leave but she did not. Walter tried his best to keep her there but in the end she made the decision all on her own. Hildy didn’t need Walter’s manipulation and scheming to keep her there, she decided on that herself the moment she stepped through the door into