Duration – 80 minutes.
Director – Howard Hawks.
Release date – January 12, 1945.
I really enjoyed this film, for several reasons. First, it offers an insightful analysis of the failures of the era, highlighting the challenges inherent in the pursuit of information for distribution in a newspaper. The plot is particularly captivating, revealing the dark underbelly of journalism and the moral dilemmas faced by the protagonists.
Hildy Johnson is a brilliant journalist-reporter, but she has decided to change her life and marry Bruce Baldwin, a modest insurance agent from Albany. Her former husband and employer Walter Burns does not hear it that way. Ready to do anything to keep Hildy close to him, Walter begins by getting her to cover the last hours of Earl Williams, a wretched man who is about to be hanged and whose newspaper, the Morning Post, hopes to be able to get the information on the Earl Williams leak.
Journalist Hildy Johnson comes to announce to her ex-husband and ex-boss Walter Burns, editor-in-chief of the Morning Post, that she is leaving the next day to marry Bruce Baldwin, an insurance agent in Albany. Walter tries to win her back and rehire her, but Hildy refuses, then accepts his proposal: before leaving, she will collect the confession of Earl Williams, murderer whose execution is dated the next day by the mayor and his sheriff for reasons electoralists. She reunites with her colleagues in the courtroom press room for what she believes to be her final report. She gets the interview, but Williams escapes soon after. The only journalist to find the guardian, she buys his story with her fiancé’s savings – a scoop that Walter promises to finance but which he will reimburse in counterfeit money. The governor sends a clemency decision, but the mayor and sheriff block it and continue to hunt down the fugitive. Williams takes refuge in the press room, where his companion Mollie and Hildy hide him in a roll-top office. Walter, who has been repeatedly delaying the couple’s departure by having Bruce imprisoned on false grounds, joins Hildy for the ultimate headline paper which he promises will change his career and clean up local politics. Carried away by intellectual excitement, the journalist dismisses Bruce, agrees to remarry Walter, to work for him again and to once again give up their honeymoon, parasitized in extremis by a report on a strike in… Albany, the town where she should have married Bruce.