MoMA Presents: Sidney Lanfield's Hat Check Girl

Sep 1–7, 2014


Hat Check Girl. 1932. USA. Directed by Sidney Lanfield

In 2013 MoMA collaborated with Twentieth Century-Fox to preserve what may have been the only extant 35mm nitrate print of Hat Check Girl (1932). Long unseen by moviegoers, the film made a triumphant return, in a new 35mm print, at Turner Classic Movies’ Classic Film Festival in April 2014. The audacious pre-code romantic comedy is set in a smart Manhattan nightclub where the good, the bad, and the ugly congregate for music, bootleg champagne, and scantily dressed showgirls.

Sidney Lanfield's Hat Check Girl was was produced during the Prohibition era, but prior to the establishment of the 1934 Motion Picture Production Code. The Code administrators policed films to insure they did not include objectionable content—ridiculing the clergy, the excessive use of firearms, overt sexuality and nudity, etc. Hat Check Girl, for example, depicts a world of bootleggers, crooked politicians, cheating husbands, and women who find frequent excuses to strip down to their teddies. Though Ginger Rogers appears as the sassy sidekick, the spotlight belongs to Sally Eilers as Gerry, the film’s moral compass, who doles out constant refusals to the ne’er-do-well men who want to lavish her with cash, furs, and jewels for her favor.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.

Special thanks to Twentieth Century-Fox.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].