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Upstage (1926)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  7 November 1926 (USA)
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Dolly Havens, a small-town girl with big-town ambitions that are larger than her talents, hooks up with Johnny Storm, a vaudeville performer, whose talents make the act a success. Dolly, ... See full summary »



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Title: Upstage (1926)

Upstage (1926) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast overview:
Dolly Haven
Oscar Shaw ...
Johnny Storm
Sam Davis
Dixie Mason
Miss Weaver
J. Frank Glendon ...
Mr. Weston
Ward Crane ...
Wallace King
Charles Meakin ...
Stage Manager


Dolly Havens, a small-town girl with big-town ambitions that are larger than her talents, hooks up with Johnny Storm, a vaudeville performer, whose talents make the act a success. Dolly, thinking she is the reason, meets a handsome leading man and joins up with him but, before long, he discovers 'she ain't a trouper' and she is soon performing with 4th-class acts in Tank Town America. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The picture that goes 'back-stage' - and reveals the thrilling drama that stalks there! (original poster) See more »


Drama | Romance






Release Date:

7 November 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Artistenblut  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The story may be familiar but "don't let that worry you"
26 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

Norma Shearer plays Dolly Haven, an ambitious ingénue who applies for a job as a stenographer in a New York casting agency, but instead is hired as the "class" portion of a vaudeville act. Dolly has no real talent--can't sing, can't dance, can't act--but just by walking across the stage dressed elegantly, she quickly becomes the toast of Broadway. Of course, all this success starts to go to her head and she starts behaving like a big-time diva, much to the dismay of Johnny Storm (played by Oscar Shaw, a prominent Broadway star of the time), the hoofer who discovered her and, as it turns out, contributed greatly to the publicity machine surrounding her rise to fame.

After being wooed away to another troupe, in which she believes she will achieve even more success, things start to go downhill and Dolly finds herself reduced to a member of the chorus in a third-rate act, playing in small-town venues. It's only when she learns to become a "real trouper" in the midst of a crisis situation backstage that Dolly redeems herself.

Norma Shearer does fine work in this film, exhibiting an impressive emotional range as her character develops from a stagestruck girl to a haughty star with attitude, and finally to a humbled and wiser young woman. She is surrounded by a top-notch supporting cast, notably Tenen Holtz as the casting agent Sam Davis (who gets all the good lines in Joe Farnham's titles), and Oscar Shaw as Johnny.

The picture is well directed by Monta Bell, whose careful attention to realistic detail in his films always impresses me. Bell composes his shots beautifully, and especially the Christmas Eve snow scenes are beautifully choreographed and photographed. There is also an interesting use of the "zoom" technique, though of course without a zoom lens. The story invites comparison with EXIT SMILING, another MGM film from 1926--both provide insightful behind-the-scenes glimpses of vaudeville life even as it was on the verge of extinction.

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