Hat Check Girl


1h 3m 1932

Brief Synopsis

Sally Eilers is a hat-check girl in a nighclub surrounded by bootleggers, blackmailers and others before she falls in love with millionaire playboy Ben Lyon. Eilers is supported by her girlfriend Ginger Rogers.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 25, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Hat-Check Girl by Rian James (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,874ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

Gerry Marsh, a nice girl from Brooklyn, supports her mother and ne'er-do-well brother Walter by working as a hat check girl at the Embassy Club. When her boss, Tony Carlucci, instructs her to attend a party at the home of the wealthy Phil Cornwall, who has requested the charming girl's attendance, Carlucci tells her to pick out a tight dress and promises to pay her fifty dollars for the job. Gerry accepts the money but refuses to sell liquor illegally from behind the hat check counter when Carlucci suggests the lucrative scheme. Later at the club, Gerry warns a colonel, accompanied by a blonde, that his wife is inside with another man. Todd Reese, a sleazy gossip columnist who has romantic designs on Gerry, arrives, and Jessie, another hat check girl, informs him about the colonel's wife and her boyfriend, Stoney Stone. Todd attempts to blackmail the pair, and Stoney threatens to kill him if he should print the story. That night, at Phil's party, Gerry is ready to leave after being slighted by one of the other guests, when Phil offers to let her spend the night in an apartment on the grounds of his estate, as the wealthy tenant is away. As Gerry sleeps in Buster Collins' bed, the bachelor arrives home drunk and hides her clothes. He wakes Gerry up by blowing smoke in her face and then propositions her. When Buster goes into the kitchen to make breakfast, Gerry sneaks out of the house in his clothes. Meanwhile, at the Embassy Club, Jessie sells someone liquor. When she steps out, Monahan, Carlucci's henchman who is dressed as a police officer, enters and asks Gerry if she is keeping any liquor. Gerry replies in the negative, but when Monahan searches the booth, he finds Jessie's bottle. Monahan and Carlucci set up a charade in which Monahan threatens to arrest Gerry until Carlucci intervenes and promises to get her off if she will sell liquor for him. Gerry agrees, and Todd, who witnesses the scheme, threatens to blackmail Carlucci for his ill-treatment of the innocent hat check girl. Gerry leaves the Embassy in a taxi with the persistent Buster, who has come to the club in search of her. They kiss and enjoy a romantic ride to Gerry's Brooklyn home. Buster later proposes to Gerry on a ski slope, but the young woman worries about Buster's father, who earlier disapproved of the match. Mr. Collins, however, finally condones the union, and at the couple's engagement party, the men play a game called "murder" and joke about killing Todd, who has excited the animosity of several guests with his gossip column in a magazine called "The Keyhole." As the game becomes more elaborate, Buster agrees to play the murderer, and his father approaches him with a real motive: Todd has threatened to reveal information to the press about Gerry's past. Gerry informs Buster that Todd could well blackmail the Collinses with his insinuations, and when Todd is shot mysteriously, Buster is implicated as he had both a motive and the opportunity to commit the crime. Mr. Collins' attorney tries to buy Gerry off for $10,000, but she leaves without the money and tells Collins that he can keep his son, though she loves him. Buster is released when it is discovered that Stoney Stone killed Todd, and the couple renew their pledge of love.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 25, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Hat-Check Girl by Rian James (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,874ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The plot was based on a screen continuity in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, and the onscreen credits were taken from a screen credits sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, both of which are at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. Some sources erroneously list Ben Lyon's role as "Robert Collins," Arthur Pierson's as "Felix Cornwall" and Monroe Owsley's as "Ted Reese."
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the story for this film was not submitted to the Hays Office for approval before production began. Jason S. Joy, Director of the Studio Relations Department of the AMPP, wrote to Fox production head Winfield R. Sheehan and complained that that "had we seen this story earlier we would have suggested that you change the name and characteristics of Tony Carlucci. The Italians, through their representatives in Washington, have been making strenuous protests against the depiction of Italian characters as bootleggers and as 'heavies.'" After the film was completed, Joy wrote the studio concerning a scene in which two of the female characters undress, which, to Joy, exemplified an undesirable trend in the movies. He suggested "the toning down, whenever possible, of such an undress scene as the one where the two girls are changing their clotes, while carrrying on an off-hand conversation. It is becoming more and more general for directors to 'dress up' such dialogue scenes by undressing the woman participants; and while these scenes are usually done without undue offense, their cumulative effect in a series of pictures is unfortunate, as it gives the impression that we are featuring semi-nudity for its own sake, and when the story does not actually demand it." In April 1937, when Twentieth Century-Fox applied to the PCA for a certificate for re-issue of the film, the PCA replied that the film, which they described as a "story of loose sex, treated without proper compensating moral values," seemed to be unacceptable under the Production Code, and suggested that the studio withdraw their application for certification.
       The following additional credits were taken from modern sources: Dialogue Director Arthur Kober; Cast Lee Moran (Man on subway), Iris Meredith (Saleslady), Eddie Anderson (Waiter), Fred Toones (Bellman), Henry Armetta (Water wagon driver), Richard Carle (Professor), Richard Tucker (Mr. Reynolds), Manya Roberti (Dancer), Betty Elliott, Bert Roach, Astrid Allwyn, Greta Granstedt, Arthur Housman, Joyce Compton (Party guests).