Contemporary reviews from critics were very positive. Critics were particularly impressed by the gender change of the reporter. Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times wrote, "Except to add that we've seen 'The Front Page' under its own name and others so often before we've grown a little tired of it, we don't mind conceding 'His Girl Friday' is a bold-faced reprint of what was once—and still remains—the maddest newspaper comedy of our times." The Variety reviewer wrote, "The trappings are different—even to the extent of making reporter Hildy Johnson a femme—but it is still 'Front Page' and Columbia need not regret it. Charles Leder (sic) has done an excellent screenwriting job on it and producer director Howard Hawks has made a film that can stand alone almost anywhere and grab healthy grosses." Harrison's Reports wrote, "Even though the story and its development will be familiar to those who saw the first version of The Front Page, they will be entertained just the same, for the action is so exciting that it holds one in tense suspense throughout." Film Daily wrote, "Given a snappy pace, a top flight cast, good production and able direction, film has all the necessary qualities for first-rate entertainment for any type of audience." John Mosher of The New Yorker wrote that after years of "feeble, wispy, sad imitations" of The Front Page, he found this authentic adaptation of the original to be "as fresh and undated and bright a film as you could want." Louis Marcorelles called His Girl Friday, "le film américain par excellence".
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