Her Man: A Forgotten Masterwork in Context

Unquestionably the most down- and-dirty version of “Frankie and Johnnie” ever filmed, Tay Garnett’s 1930 feature Her Man is set in a Havana bordello populated by a Bukowskian collection of drunks, drug addicts, and hookers. It is also an astonishing formal accomplishment—a film from the early sound period that features extreme long takes and an almost constantly moving camera, techniques 10 years ahead of their time. A favorite of Henri Langlois, Her Man was last seen at MoMA in 1967, as the opening presentation in a program of treasures from the Cinémathèque Française. Recently, the camera negative was discovered in the vaults of Sony Pictures, and MoMA is proud to present the premiere of Sony’s restoration of this overlooked wonder starring Helen Twelvetrees and Ricardo Cortez. The weeklong run will be accompanied by other rarely seen films by Garnett, as well as the little seen 1936 Frankie and Johnnie, an independent production filmed in New York starring the great torch singer Helen Morgan (Showboat).

Organized by Dave Kehr, Adjunct Curator, Department of Film.