6.9/10
1,393
31 user 17 critic

A Damsel in Distress (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 19 November 1937 (USA)
Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X." After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Carefree (1938)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A psychiatrist agrees to hypnotize his friend's girlfriend in order to convince her to accept his proposals of marriage, but she ends up falling for the psychiatrist instead.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Navy sailor tries to rekindle a romance with the woman he loves while on liberty in San Francisco.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott
Hue and Cry (1947)
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A gang of street boys foil a master crook who sends commands for robberies by cunningly altering a comic strip's wording each week, unknown to writer and printer. The first of the Ealing ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Alastair Sim, Frederick Piper, Harry Fowler
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An aviator and band leader who is always getting his group fired for his flirtatious behavior with the female guests soon finds himself falling for an engaged woman.

Director: Thornton Freeland
Stars: Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien
Roberta (1935)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Paris, a man clueless about fashion suddenly inherits his aunt's dress shop, while his bandleader friend reunites with his old flame.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of married couple Irene Castle and Vernon Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he's not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tap dancer becomes complicated when rumors surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
Certificate: Passed Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brett as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to gives him the name of his partner.

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Flying Tiger Fred Atwell sneaks away from his famous squadron's personal appearance tour and goes incognito for several days of leave. He quickly falls for photographer Joan Manion, ... See full summary »

Director: Edward H. Griffith
Stars: Fred Astaire, Joan Leslie, Robert Benchley
Swing Time (1936)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Ray Noble ...
...
...
Harry Watson ...
Albert
...
Miss Ruggles
Edit

Storyline

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X." After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau (bumping into dancer Jerry Halliday, instead), she is restricted to the castle to curb her scandalous behavior. Albert then summons Jerry to Alyce's aid in order to "protect his investment." Written by Diana Hamilton <hamilton@gl.umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

With Sword in Hand He Goes to the Head of the Clash!. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 November 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Demoiselle en détresse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,035,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the late Thirties, Fred Astaire's box-office appeal temporarily dimmed somewhat. This film has been labeled a financial disappointment. Following next, the final two Astaire-Ginger Rogers pairings of the decade failed to equal the hefty profits of their seven prior match-ups. See more »

Quotes

Lord John Marshmorton: Miss Allen, is he coming here tonight, your friend Mr. Halliday?
Gracie: Oh, well sure he's not coming here and do you know why he's not coming here tonight? Because he wasn't invited, that's why he's not coming here tonight, Lord Marshmallow.
George: Gracie, it's Marshmorton, not Marshmallow.
Gracie: That's what I said, Marshmallow.
George: Look, Gracie, "marshmallow" is soft and mushy.
Gracie: Oh, please, George! You don't know this gentleman well enough to say that about him.
George: [to Lord Marshmorton] I'm sorry, would you explain that ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing of Spring
(1937) (uncredited)
Words by Ira Gershwin
Music by George Gershwin
Performed by Madrigal Singers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Astaire, Fontaine, Burns, Allen & Jan Duggan Too!
15 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A Damsel in Distress is a delight because of the great Gershwin songs, Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, and a terrific supporting cast headed by Gracie Allen and George Burns.

Typically silly plot for an Astaire film has him as an American dance star in England with Burns as his publicist and Allen his secretary. They concoct a story about his being a love bug with women falling victim to him left and right. He runs into Fontaine who is being held captive in her castle by a domineering aunt and docile father. Silly plot.

The great songs include A Foggy Day, Things Are Looking Up, Nice Work if You Can get It, and I Can't Be Bothered Now. Fontaine does not sing, but does a brief (and decent) number with Astaire. Surprisingly good in a few dance numbers with Astaire are Burns and Allen, including an inventive and fun romp through an amusement park.

Also in the cast are Reginald Gardiner, Constance Collier, Montagu Love, Harry Watson (as Albert), Ray Noble, and my favorite--Jan Duggan as the lead madrigal singer.

Jan Duggan is in the middle of the swoony trio who sings Nice Work if You Can Get It. Her facial expressions are hilarious. She was also a scene stealer in the W.C. Fields comedy, The Old Fashioned Way, playing Cleopatra Pepperday.

Much abuse has been heaped on this film because of the absence of Ginger Rogers, who, as noted elsewhere, would have been hideously miscast. The TCM host notes that Ruby Keeler and Jessie Matthews were considered. Yikes. Two more would-be disasters. Fontaine is fine as Alyce and the dynamic allows the musical numbers to belong to Astaire, with ample comic relief by Burns and Allen.

Fun film, great songs, good cast, and Jan Duggan in a rare spotlight!


9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?