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A Damsel in Distress (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 19 November 1937 (USA)
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 »

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(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ray Noble ...
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Harry Watson ...
Albert
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Miss Ruggles
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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:

By George, they're Gracier than ever...in this tune filled, girl thrilled, rousing show!. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

19 November 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Demoiselle en détresse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,035,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Pay Some Attention to Me" by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin was written for the movie but not used. See more »

Quotes

Lord John Marshmorton: Miss Allen, is he coming here tonight, your friend Mr. Halliday?
Gracie: Oh, well sure he's not coming here and do you know why he's not coming here tonight? Because he wasn't invited, that's why he's not coming here tonight, Lord Marshmallow.
George: Gracie, it's Marshmorton, not Marshmallow.
Gracie: That's what I said, Marshmallow.
George: Look, Gracie, "marshmallow" is soft and mushy.
Gracie: Oh, please, George! You don't know this gentleman well enough to say that about him.
George: [to Lord Marshmorton] I'm sorry, would you explain that ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Nice Work If You Can Get It
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Instrumental reprise
Dance performed by Fred Astaire while playing the drums
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User Reviews

 
Astaire, Fontaine, Burns, Allen & Jan Duggan Too!
15 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A Damsel in Distress is a delight because of the great Gershwin songs, Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, and a terrific supporting cast headed by Gracie Allen and George Burns.

Typically silly plot for an Astaire film has him as an American dance star in England with Burns as his publicist and Allen his secretary. They concoct a story about his being a love bug with women falling victim to him left and right. He runs into Fontaine who is being held captive in her castle by a domineering aunt and docile father. Silly plot.

The great songs include A Foggy Day, Things Are Looking Up, Nice Work if You Can get It, and I Can't Be Bothered Now. Fontaine does not sing, but does a brief (and decent) number with Astaire. Surprisingly good in a few dance numbers with Astaire are Burns and Allen, including an inventive and fun romp through an amusement park.

Also in the cast are Reginald Gardiner, Constance Collier, Montagu Love, Harry Watson (as Albert), Ray Noble, and my favorite--Jan Duggan as the lead madrigal singer.

Jan Duggan is in the middle of the swoony trio who sings Nice Work if You Can Get It. Her facial expressions are hilarious. She was also a scene stealer in the W.C. Fields comedy, The Old Fashioned Way, playing Cleopatra Pepperday.

Much abuse has been heaped on this film because of the absence of Ginger Rogers, who, as noted elsewhere, would have been hideously miscast. The TCM host notes that Ruby Keeler and Jessie Matthews were considered. Yikes. Two more would-be disasters. Fontaine is fine as Alyce and the dynamic allows the musical numbers to belong to Astaire, with ample comic relief by Burns and Allen.

Fun film, great songs, good cast, and Jan Duggan in a rare spotlight!


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