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Jennifer Merin

Girl 27 is Snagged! At Last!

By September 1, 2009

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Girl 27, an extremely interesting documentary that was released in 2007, is now accessible on line and free of charge, thanks to Snag Films.

Girl 27 is an expose of a Hollywood scandal dating from 1937 when Patricia Douglas, an underage contract dancer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was invited to Louis B Mayer's lavish party for the studio's most successful salesmen. The night of the big bash, Douglas and 119 other 'girls' (who were officially listed as numbers) were transported to a rural ranch where studio westerns were shot and it was there, in the parking lot, that this documentary's leading lady (girl 27) said no to one of the salesmen -- and was raped.

As other women who were at this and other such galas comment in the film, rape was not an uncommon complaint in Hollywood studio circles -- but it was one that was never made public. The gals who were under contract as dancers, extras and bit players were wholely dependent on the studios for their livelihoods, so they kept their lips zipped. Not so the emotionally devastated Patricia Douglas, who was so outraged she dared to go public with her accusation. Her story was headline news, replacing even the tragic death of Jean Harlow on the front pages of every newspaper in town. Then the story abruptly disappeared, completely squelched and covered up by MGM. Patricia Douglas vanished, too. Until now.

Filmmaker David Stenn unearthed the buried story while he was researching period newspapers for a book he was writing about Carol Lombard. His curiosity spurred on by his editor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, he investigated the incident for ten years to dig up details about the cover up and discover what happened to Patricia Douglas. The resulting film, Girl 27 is a fascinating revelation about the movie industry's influence and a well-documented backgrounder on Hollywood's 'casting couch' attitude towards women. See it while you can at Snag Films or, as an alternative, you can purchase it on available on DVD.

(PHOTO: Patricia Douglas. Courtesy Westlake Entertainment Group).


September 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm
(1) Stella says:

I just watched this documentary. The story Patricia Douglas replaced in the papers was the death of Jean Harlow of uremic poisoning in 1937, not Carole Lombard. Lombard died in a 1942 plane crash. David Stenn’s book is Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow. Research is important.

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