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Stage Struck (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 12 September 1936 (USA)
Broadway dance director George Randall (Dick Powell) is stuck with staging a Broadway show starring Peggy Revere (Joan Blondell), a wealthy but untalented performer who is starring only ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Peggy Revere
...
Fred Harris
...
Sid
The Yacht Club Boys ...
Singing Quartette
Jeanne Madden ...
Ruth Williams
Carol Hughes ...
Gracie
Craig Reynolds ...
Gilmore Frost
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Wayne
Johnny Arthur ...
Oscar Freud (as Johnnie Arthur)
...
Mrs. Randall
Thomas Pogue ...
Dr. Stanley (as Thomas Rogue)
Andrew Tombes ...
Burns Heywood
Lulu McConnell ...
Toots O'Connor
Val Stanton ...
Cooper
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Storyline

Broadway dance director George Randall (Dick Powell) is stuck with staging a Broadway show starring Peggy Revere (Joan Blondell), a wealthy but untalented performer who is starring only because she is backing the show. Tempers flare during rehearsals, but suave producer Fred Harris (Warren William) smooths things over by pretending to each combatant that each one secretly loves the other. Trouble is, Randall really has eyes for chorus girl Ruth Williams (Jeanne Madden). On opening night, the tempestuous Peggy storms out of the production, leaving Ruth to play the lead and carry the show. Can she pull it off? Written by Dan Navarro <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caprichos de Estrela  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie box office got a big boost when Dick Powell and Joan Blondell were married shortly before its release. See more »

Quotes

Fred Harris: Sometimes the power of my own brain scares me.
See more »

Soundtracks

She's in Love (Lady of the Moon Number)
(uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Sung by Frank McHugh and chorus in rehearsal
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More fun than other 1930s Dick Powell comedies
14 November 2011 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

This is a delightful backstage comedy/musical in the same vein as Warner Bros.' other 1930s Busby Berkeley fare. Dick Powell is great, Warren William is great, Joan Blondell is terrific, and even Frank McHugh is great. The weak link, unfortunately, is Jeanne Madden as the fresh-faced romantic lead. She can't perform at the level of experienced co-stars like Powell, and the romance suffers. But this was her first movie and she was probably hired for her voice.

I've seen several of these 1930s comedies (musical and otherwise) featuring the Warner Bros. contract players, and I haven't thought much of them as a rule. But for whatever reason I was very receptive toward STAGE STRUCK (1936). The movie is a lot of fun. It's comedy all the way through, with swell performances from the stars and some genuinely funny gags. It's the kind of pleasant movie you can sit back in your comfy chair and just enjoy. A nice distraction for an hour and a half.

Although directed by choreographer extraordinaire Busby Berkeley, STAGE STRUCK does not feature any of the major stylized production numbers that characterized his work earlier in the decade. As impressive as those larger-than-life dance sequences were, they brought the main story to a halt for an extended period of time. The closest thing here is an overlong, irrelevant, and increasingly bizarre song and dance number by the Yacht Club Boys in the middle of the film. A few songs are sprinkled about, but the movie is mostly a straight-up comedy set around a Broadway show.

Dick Powell played juvenile tenors in GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933) and FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933), but here has matured into his more adult persona, complete with trademark sarcasm and a dapper mustache for good measure. In this Broadway story, Powell is not one of the young stars; he is the director, trying to keep the show together amid the chaos.

That chaos is played by one of my favorite actresses: Joan Blondell. Blondell was great playing sweet and wisecracking dames who'd often win the man in the end. It's a little different this time around, as she plays a crazy tabloid queen brought in to star in the show as a publicity stunt. Hilariously over-dramatic, Blondell's wealthy character adopts an air of sophistication that fools nobody and her lines are filled with amusing malapropisms. Initially at odds with director Powell, she is placated into cooperation by producer William's knowledge of Freudian psychology.

One scene that I enjoyed was when Powell sings through "In Your Own Quiet Way" at the piano while Blondell (convinced by William that she really loves Powell) tries to cozy up with him. As she inches closer, he calmly inches away and keeps on singing through the music. The body language is great as the two end up circling around the piano.

STAGE STRUCK is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or an evening. If you're a fan of Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, or the kind of mid-1930s comedies they made for Warner Bros., you should give this one a try. As of this posting the film has not been released on DVD for purchase, so catch it on TCM if you can.


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