A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.
Terry Randall, rich society beauty, has decided to see if she can break into the Broadway theatre scene without her family connections. She goes to live in a theatrical boarding house and finds her life caught up with those of the other inmates and the ever-present disappointment that theatrical hopefuls must live with. Her smart-mouth roommate, Jean, is approached by a powerful producer for more than just a role. And Terry's father has decided to give her career the shove by backing a production for her to star in, in which she's sure to flop. But his machinations hurt more than just Terry. Written by
Katharine Hepburn's box office power had been declining and was given a smaller part than she was accustomed, and initially she was to receive second billing under Ginger Rogers. Hepburn protested to RKO producer Pandro S. Berman, who told Hepburn "she was lucky to have the 7th role in a star picture". Hepburn persisted and was given more scenes as filming progressed, and she and Ginger Rogers eventually shared side-by-side top billing. See more »
The actress playing Mr. Powell's secretary appears to deliver her line "somebody catch her" late. The actress playing Kay did her part; she acted like someone in trouble and actually swooned, but the secretary was behind in her lines and delivered them all after Kay had already hit the floor. See more »
Very Enjoyable, With a Fine Cast and Many Other Strengths
With a fine cast and an interesting, worthwhile story, "Stage Door" is one
of the best films of the late 1930's. It provides good comedy - at least if
you can keep up with the fast-paced, many-sided dialogues - and some
interesting drama in the lives of its characters. The characters are
well-developed, even the minor ones, and this makes the dramatic
developments that much more meaningful. The atmosphere is a convincing and
very interesting look at life in the theater, neither overly glamourized nor
There is a great deal of talent in the cast, led by Katherine Hepburn and
Ginger Rogers, whose characters clash in interesting ways. Adolphe Menjou
is an ideal choice to play this kind of genial cad. Gail Patrick also is
perfect as an elegant but venomous young performer. Constance Collier is
amusing as the would-be mentor for the younger actresses. Andrea Leeds is
very sympathetic in her role. Most of the other characters in the boarding
house get only small stretches of screen time, but they all make good use of
it. It's also enjoyable just to see the likes of Ann Miller, Lucille Ball,
and Eve Arden in some of their earlier roles.
The cast is the most obvious of its strengths, but the writing is also quite
good, and Gregory La Cava's direction is very good, maintaining a good pace
without rushing anything, and keeping a good balance between the amusing and
the serious sides of the story. Everything works very well, making for an
enjoyable and thoughtful picture.
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