MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 193 this week

A Damsel in Distress (1937)

7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,079 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 14 critic

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), 6 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 23 Mar 2011
 
a list of 37 titles
created 10 Nov 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 26 Nov 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 41 titles
created 3 days ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: A Damsel in Distress (1937)

A Damsel in Distress (1937) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Damsel in Distress.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An actress becomes an alcoholic after being jilted. She is aided by an Alcoholics Anonymous member with whom she has an affair; however, he is married.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Joan Fontaine, Ray Milland, Teresa Wright
Biography | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of the successful Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby is told loosely and lightheartedly.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Red Skelton
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 tapdancer becomes complicated when rumours surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
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 7.4/10 X  

The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou
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
Blue Skies (1946)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jed Potter looks back on a love triangle conducted over the course of years and between musical numbers. Dancer Jed loves showgirl Mary, who loves compulsive nightclub-opener Johnny, who ... See full summary »

Directors: Stuart Heisler, Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Joan Caulfield
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A successful but constantly-feuding husband and wife musical comedy team threatens to break up when the wife entertains an offer to become a serious actress.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mimi Glossop wants a divorce so her Aunt Hortense hires a professional to play the correspondent in apparent infidelity. American dancer Guy Holden meets Mimi while visiting Brightbourne (... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady
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
Fantasy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Johnny Riggs, a con man on the lam, finds himself in a Latin-American country named Patria. There, he overhears a convent-bred rich girl praying to her guardian angel for help in managing ... See full summary »

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Frank Morgan
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jerry
...
...
...
Reginald Gardiner ...
Ray Noble ...
...
Montagu Love ...
Lord Marshmorton
Harry Watson ...
Albert
Jan Duggan ...
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:

Mad adventure...daring deeds...white hot love with music! Your toes will tingle as you laugh through the cheers!. 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

After learning that Fred Astaire wanted Burns and Allen to audition for him, George Burns hired a vaudeville dancer he knew to choreograph a complex routine with whisk brooms. Astaire enjoyed the performance by George and Gracie so much that he insisted on working it into the film. See more »

Quotes

Gracie: [Gracie answers the telephone] It's a Hawaiian.
George: A Hawaiian?
Gracie: Well he must be. He says he's Brown from The Morning Sun.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mad Miss Manton (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Stiff Upper Lip
(1937) (uncredited)
Words by Ira Gershwin
Music by George Gershwin
Song performed by Gracie Allen
Dance performed by Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen, chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Wodehouse adapts his own novel to the screen
13 October 2004 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Rarely does a novelist have the opportunity to participate in the adaptation of one of his own stories for the screen, but such was the case with Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975). The 1937 movie, A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, was the first and only time he assisted in transposing his prose to film.

A Damsel in Distress had initially been filmed back in 1919, at the time of its original publication, in a version faithful to the novel. In 1928 Wodehouse had collaborated on a stage version with Ian Hay, which had condensed and rearranged some scenes for the limitations of the proscenium, while retaining the highlights of the book. On the advice of George Gershwin, RKO producer Pandro Berman bought the screen rights to A Damsel in Distress in November 1936. Gershwin had collaborated in the theater with Wodehouse before he wrote the novel, and Gershwin believed that the character of the music writer named George Bevan in A Damsel in Distress was based on him. Gershwin's nine songs for the film were composed before the script was written, and he actually died during production of the movie. A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS had an unusual follow-up: in 1998, the score of the film, along with several songs Gershwin had written but which were not used in the picture, were included in a new stage musical of the Wodehouse novel, this time entitled A Foggy Day for one of the songs.

RKO was interested in filming A Damsel in Distress because the novel's romantic lead was a musical comedy composer, allowing a singer and dancer to be cast in the role--and RKO needed a Fred Astaire vehicle. Scripting was already well underway when Wodehouse was asked to assist in May 1937, and shooting took place from July 22 to October 16, while work on the script continued until September 25 (Wodehouse left on August 14). The recurring gag of everyone infectiously saying "Right-ho" to one another seems a nod to Wodehouse's presence on the movie. Similarly, the song "Stiff Upper Lip" is the most colloquial in its wording, and reminiscent of the Wodehouse prose in its lyrics. Like the Ian Hay stage version, A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS retained the basic plot outline of the novel, but unlike the play, the movie also deleted and merged a number of the characters, and added others, becoming a second, separate Wodehouse variation on the novel. Ideas from the novel are used, but combined with fresh material, as the movie increasingly strays from the source. To add box-office insurance, George Burns and Gracie Allen were brought in from Paramount to partner Astaire in gags and dance routines. Burns and Allen play Jerry's press agent and his secretary, using their own names as they did in most of their movies of this time. While their participation was definitely outside the original, and the humor different from the Wodehouse style, Burns and Allen provide the movie with additional amusement.

Joan Fontaine was cast opposite Astaire. She had just been placed under contract to RKO, and was only then emerging from low-budget films; her first successful starring role would not be until1940 with REBECCA. The casting of Burns and Allen was partly to compensate for the risk associated with placing a relative unknown as the love interest. Whereas previous Astaire films had emphasized a partnership, and the grace of the romantic dancing duet with Ginger Rogers, A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS placed Astaire front and center, emphasizing the solitary aspect of his performance. Fontaine and Astaire have only one brief number together, simultaneously inviting comparison with Rogers yet demonstrating that she was unable to dance adequately opposite Astaire. Only the presence of Burns and Allen keep the entire picture from pivoting entirely on Astaire. The expectations of a romantic musical comedy usually call for a couple at the center, but A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS opts for a solitary lead, or at most a trio (when Burns and Allen are also on screen)-an inherent imbalance in the genre. Fontaine believed that the movie actually set her career back several years. Reginald Gardiner had played the role of Percy, the antagonist in the romances, in the Hay version on the London stage. In the movie, by contrast, the character of Percy is eliminated, and Gardiner is cast as Keggs the butler, who becomes a much more sprightly and unlikely character than in the novel. Gardiner was an ideal choice, an English comedian in the same tradition as Wodehouse. A major screen credit seemed to open up the possibility of a new career for Wodehouse, but when A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS was released on November 19, it proved to be the first Astaire picture to lose money at the box office. This was probably inevitable; after seven vehicles together, audiences had grown accustomed to seeing Astaire paired with Ginger Rogers, and reviewers inevitably compared Fontaine unfavorably. The failure of A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS would compel Astaire to make two more movies with Rogers, although their reunion in CAREFREE (1938) also met with a lukewarm box office reception. Hence, the reaction to A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS was hardly unique for an Astaire picture at this point in his career. However, the disappointing box-office results must have stung Wodehouse, not only because of his involvement in its creation, but because his name had become a more prominent part of advertising and promotion than on any of the previous films from his novels. Subsequently, few movies were made from Wodehouse sources, although in decades to come he would be far more successfully adapted for television.


30 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This movie is so funny trina_crys
Don't Blame Joan billellis
'Stiff upper lip' dance scene Betty-Please
Where's the DVD of this oldsenior
Where was this filmset for film mwwhitefl
burns + allen ksf-2
Discuss A Damsel in Distress (1937) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?