Under Your Hat

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Under Your Hat
"Under Your Hat" (1940).jpg
Original British trade ad
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Produced by Ivor McLaren
Jack Hulbert
Written by Rodney Ackland
Anthony Kimmins
Arthur Macrae
Geoffrey Kerr
Jack Hulbert
Starring Jack Hulbert
Cicely Courtneidge
Austin Trevor
Leonora Corbett
Music by Lew Stone
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum
Edited by Edward B. Jarvis
Distributed by British Lion
Release date
  • 1 September 1940 (1940-09-01)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Under Your Hat is a 1940 British musical comedy spy film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Jack Hulbert, Cicely Courtneidge and Austin Trevor.[1]


The film was an independent production made at Isleworth Studios.[2] It was based on a popular stage musical starring Hulbert and Courtneidge, a husband-and-wife team who had made a series of successful comedy films during the 1930s. The sets were designed by art director James A. Carter. Musical numbers included "Can't Find That Tiger," sung by The Rhythm Brothers.[3]


The film is set in pre-Second World War England where a leading film star (Jack Hulbert) and his wife (Cicely Courtneidge) attempt to recover a secret carburretor stolen by enemy agents. Suspicious that her husband Jack may be embarking on an affair with his glamorous co-star (Leonora Corbett), Kay (Courtneidge) follows him to the South of France, where in fact he is due to receive the carburretor from a contact at a night club, as he has actually been recruited as an undercover man for the government. Kay is carrying a copy of "Gone With The Wind" which, unknown to her, is the secret code to receive the parcel. There is an amusing literary pun when the secret agent (Charles Oliver) bringing the parcel, assuming Kay knows all about the code and is due to meet him, says dramatically, "You are She", and Kay replies, "Really? I didn't know I looked so Haggard." Eventually the parcel is retrieved, Leonora Corbett's character is revealed as a spy, and Jack and Kay fly back to London with the carburretor.


Critical reception[edit]

TV Guide found the film "redolent of the Thin Man series, with the added fillip of the musical-stage talent, but lacking the charisma of the stars of that series";[3] while Sky Movies wrote, "although Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge had passed their mid-Thirties' peaks as box-office attractions when they made this film version of one of their hit stage shows, it does mark something of a return to form for both of them, with a lively if improbable plot involving spies, and the two stars cheerfully indulging their penchant for disguise. Glynis Johns has a small supporting role, and sharp eyes may catch a glimpse of the young Terry-Thomas."[4]


  1. ^ Murphy p.203
  2. ^ "Under Your Hat (1940)". BFI. 
  3. ^ a b "Under Your Hat". TVGuide.com. 
  4. ^ "Under Your Hat". Find and Watch. 


  • Murphy, Robert. Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain, 1939-1949. Routledge, 1992.

External links[edit]