Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stage Door (1937) is terrific...Hollywood at it's golden best

Director Gregory La Cava assembled a stunning roster of some of the best actresses for this delightful comedy/drama. Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Gail Patrick and Andrea Leeds. How's that for a cast. And then throw in Adolphe Menjou, Jack Carson and Franklin Pangborn, and you have one of the best film casts ever assembled. It rivals the all women cast of the 1939 classic The Women. The story has Terry Randall (Hepburn), a rich society beauty wants to see if see can make it on Broadway all by herself, with no help from her family. She goes to live in a theatrical boarding house called The Footlights Club and finds her life caught up with those of the other inmates and the ever-present disappointment that theatrical hopefuls must live with. Her room-mate Jean (the wonderfully biting Ginger Rogers) resents her from day one and their tenous relationship fuels the entire movie. The look Jean gives Terry once she realizes they're going to be room-mates is classic. While Stage Door is not really a screwball comedy, it does feature several hilarious moments and wonderful comedic dialogue. I mean with wise-crackers like Rogers, Eve Arden and Lucille Ball on hand, how could it not be. But it does turn very dramatic at times, and there is even an unexpected death that just shatters the close knit group of women. As far as the acting goes, Rogers is top notch. She easily stands out among her fellow actresses with her seen it all, done it all character Jean. Lucille Ball is also very good as Judith, as she has comic troubles with dating. Judith and Jean's double date with some visiting lumberjacks is a riot. Hepburn is ok, but at times seems uncomfortable amid all the other women. I believe Kate worked her best magic with either Tracy of Cary Grant. Regardless, Stage Door is one of my favorite films and it is a joy to watch again and again.

Judy Canfield: Do you want a date?
Jean Maitland: To some other lumberman?
Judy Canfield: Am I supposed to apologize for being born in Seattle?
Jean Maitland: Well, the last couple we went stepping with were made of lumber. Especially their feet.
Judy Canfield: All right, all right, you can stay here and gorge yourself on lamb stew again.

Terry Randall: I see that, in addition to your other charms, you have that insolence generated by an inferior upbringing.
Jean Maitland: Hmm! Fancy clothes, fancy language and everything!
Terry Randall: Unfortunately, I learned to speak English correctly.
Jean Maitland: That won't be of much use to you here. We all talk pig latin.


Terry: Do you go to sleep right away?
Jean: Sure, what do you go to bed for?


Frl. Irene Palfy said...

I am so anxious to watch that movie!!


I've ordered STAGE DOOR already. Ginger Rogers praises this film herself in her book. She also reports the story-writers listened to the girl's private tittle-tattle off set and they used that stuff to make the dialogs more lively. Very good idea, wasn't it?