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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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
George Randall
...
Peggy Revere
...
...
Sid
The Yacht Club Boys ...
...
Ruth Williams
...
Gracie
...
Gilmore Frost
...
Wayne
...
Oscar Freud (as Johnnie Arthur)
...
Mrs. Randall
Thomas Pogue ...
Dr. Stanley (as Thomas Rogue)
Andrew Tombes ...
Burns Heywood
...
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>

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Comedy | Musical

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

12 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caprichos de Estrela  »

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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.
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Soundtracks

Fancy Meeting You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Sung by Dick Powell and Jeanne Madden
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User Reviews

The Show Must Go On!
12 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

STAGE STRUCK (Warner Brothers, 1936), directed by Busby Berkeley, is a backstage musical that reunites the three principle players from GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (Warners, 1933), Warren William, Joan Blondell and Dick Powell. This time, Powell gets the promotion with top-billing (and a pencil-thin mustache) playing George Randall, the director of an upcoming musical show, LADY OF THE MOON. Also getting a promotion is Busby Berkeley, who was choreographer in the earlier film now director of entire production.

Following the pattern of other earlier 1933 hits, 42nd STREET and FOOTLIGHT PARADE, Joan Blondell is featured as blinky-eyed Peggy Revere, a temperamental actress with a bad reputation with men (she shoots them, but only giving her victims flesh wounds); Warren William as a smooth-talking promoter, Fred Harris, who tries to get George and Peggy on friendly terms; Frank McHugh as Sid, the harassed assistant dance director typically calling out, "Quiet!" "On stage!" etc.; and newcomer Jeanne Madden as a Ruby Keelerish-type young hopeful named Ruth Williams from East Weekaukeegan who wants a job in the show. As fate would have it, George takes an interest in Ruth, and because she's just a sweet young kid unlike the other girls in the chorus line, he tries to encourage her to forget about show business and take a job at a flower shop instead. But Ruth is insistent and goes against his advise. But George has his hands full with Peggy and will do anything to get rid of her, especially after a three day out-of-town tryout of the new show, WORDS AND MUSIC, in which newspaper critics report that "audiences laughed at all the wrong places" and that "Peggy Revere's performance disappoints." Eventually, Peggy does something on on opening night in her dressing room that involves her jealous fiancé (Craig Reynolds) and a shooting that prevents her from appearing (she gets arrested), and George must find himself a last minute replacement or the show won't go on.

STAGE STRUCK is a forgotten musical by all means, remembered, if at all, as the movie Busby Berkeley directed while going through courtroom trials for manslaughter (drunk driving that causes his car to swerve into another car after his tire blew out, killing three passengers.) This unfortunate incident was covered in the documentary presented on TCM: BUSBY BERKELEY: GOING THROUGH THE ROOF (1998), or the one in which Dick Powell and Joan Blondell got married during film production. Anyone expecting any lavish musical or a grand show-stopping finale Berkeley-style from STAGE STRUCK would be disappointed, because there aren't any. Good songs, however, by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, including "Lady of the Moon" (sung by chorus girls during rehearsals, with Frank McHugh); "Fancy Meeting You" (sung by Dick Powell and Jeanne Madden); "In YOUR Own Quiet Way" (sung by Powell) and "In HIS Own Quiet Way" (a try-out, sung by Jeanne Madden). What stands out here are the comedy antics from The Yacht Club Boys as The Mexican Serenaders, who wrote and sing their own songs, "The Government Takes Away" (titled in opening credits as "The New Parade") and the most bizarre of them all, "The Body Beautiful," the latter as an audition in Warren William's office. This wild and crazy music number relies mostly on special effects and defying the law of gravity. It must be seen to be believed. The Yacht Club Boys are at times reminiscent to The Ritz Brothers, another crazy bunch then making comedy antics in 20th Century-Fox musicals about the same time.

Also featured in the cast are: Spring Byington and Carol Hughes as Powell's mother and sister; Hobart Cavanaugh, and a young Jane Wyman who can be seen briefly as Bessie Fiffnick, one of many auditioning chorus girls, but it's Jeanne Madden (1917-1989), in her movie debut, who's the central character. Cute and a likable personality, she has a pleasing singing voice in the Deanna Durbin-style. Sadly, Madden's screen career would come to an end after appearing in two more forgettable films in 1937, becoming only a name for the memory book. STAGE STRUCK is worth a look only as a curiosity, if not much else. It's available for viewing on Turner Classic Movies. (***)


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