Study Guide

All the President's Men Hugh Sloan's Bookkeeper (Jane Alexander)

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Hugh Sloan's Bookkeeper (Jane Alexander)

Cooking the Books

Being a bookkeeper isn't a very dangerous job. If you want action-packed adventure, you're better off as a fighter pilot, arctic base jumper, or hoverboard dancer.

But after watching All the President's Men, we can add bookkeeper of the Committee to Re-Elect the President to the list of suspense-filled careers. The bookkeeper is scared.

BOOKKEEPER: A lot of people are watching me. They know I know a lot.

Maybe because he isn't the one in danger, Bernstein pushes and pushes and pushes her until she cracks, becoming the only person from inside the committee to speak to the reporters. Her information is critical to cracking the story open, but she feels more like a victim than a hero because of her treatment.

The film doesn't even give her a name. In real life, her name is Judy Hoback, and she said and she later said that Woodward and Bernstein "were pushy young men. I was really scared and they played on that." (Source)

The film uses clever camera angles to show the bookkeeper's reluctance to talk to Bernstein. She's positioned behind a banister, as if she is behind bars, caged off. We can't even see her face. But as Bernstein chips away at her defenses, the camera gets closer to her until she finally spills the beans.

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