Girl 27

Director: David Stenn

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Director David Stenn's Girl 27 is a fiercely dramatic account of a Hollywood scandal that is as pertinent and tragic today as it was in the late 1930s, despite the fact that it's an incident no one seems to remember. Stenn wades heavily into this more than six-decades-old cover-up, which he stumbled upon while doing research for a book on Jean Harlow. Although he prides himself on being an expert on MGM, he had never heard of a 17-year-old dancer named Patricia Douglas, who was raped at a party during the studio's annual sales convention in 1937. Even though she filed a landmark federal lawsuit, and her photo was splashed on the cover of newspapers, she was systematically erased from history. Stenn was determined to uncork this long-buried mystery and found himself embarking on a life-altering journey to find Douglas (now nearing her nineties) and bring her out of seclusion.

Scenes from black-and-white classic films and impeccably researched archival footage highlight this long-forgotten, yet powerful, story. Stenn gives Girl 27 a contemporary slant by filming himself in pertinent locations. Based on an article he originally published in Vanity Fair, Girl 27 eloquently brings those words and photographs to life. Hollywood tried to forget Patricia Douglas; Girl 27 makes sure that we won't.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details


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