Stage Door (1937)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  8 October 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 5,612 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 38 critic

A boardinghouse full of aspiring actresses and their ambitions, dreams and disappointments.


(as Gregory LaCava)


(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gail Patrick ...
Linda Shaw
Miss Luther
Andrea Leeds ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Henry Sims
William Corson ...
Pierre Watkin ...
Grady Sutton ...
Stage Director
Mr. Milbanks
Phyllis Kennedy ...


Terry Randall, rich society beauty, has decided to see if she can break into the Broadway theatre scene without her family connections. She goes to live in a theatrical boarding house and finds her life caught up with those of the other inmates and the ever-present disappointment that theatrical hopefuls must live with. Her smart-mouth roommate, Jean, is approached by a powerful producer for more than just a role. And Terry's father has decided to give her career the shove by backing a production for her to star in, in which she's sure to flop. But his machinations hurt more than just Terry. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The gaiety...glamour...foolishness and fun of showbusiness...played on the Great White Way See more »


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pension d'artistes  »

Box Office


$952,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The AFI Catalog lists a stand-in for Olive Hatch. Since she is not in the cast, we may infer she once as a significant role in the movie, but eventually was dropped. Stand-ins are usually provided only for stars. See more »


The band at Club Grotto, where Jean and Annie perform a dance number, includes a female vocalist who can be seen singing in the background, but no vocals are heard on the soundtrack. See more »


Eve: [after a dinner where Terry Randall has evidently spoken very eloquently about Shakespeare] Well, I don't like to gossip, but that new gal seems to have an awful crush on Shakespeare!
Susan: [jokingly] I wouldn't be surprised if they get married!
Mary Lou: [with genuine naiveté] Oh, you're foolin'! Shakespeare's dead!
Susan: [Feigning surprise, playing along to entertain the others] No!
Mary Lou: Well, if he's the same one that wrote "Hamlet", he is!
Eve: [playing along, too] Never heard of it.
Mary Lou: Well, certainly you must have heard of "...
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Operation Double 007 (1993) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
(1893) (uncredited)
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
Sung by the women for Kay's birthday party
See more »

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User Reviews

Utterly perfect example of movie entertainment, 30s style
21 February 2001 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Director Gregory LaCava apparently liked to hit the bottle and so had a spotty career, but Stage Door is his masterpiece. Not in some personal, auteurist way, but in having achieved an almost ideal example of Depression-era movie entertainment. Its venue is the Footlights Club, a theatrical boarding house near Broadway, where lamb stew and broken dreams are the nightly staples. Among the gals with stiletto tongues but hearts of gold are Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Gail Patrick and formidable Constance Collier ("Could you see an older woman in the part?"). But the movie centers on the rivalry between roommates Katherine Hepburn, as a spoiled rich kid who tries acting as a lark, and Ginger Rogers, as a plucky thespian waiting for her break. Believe it or no, those diametrical opposites (aristocratic, ethereal Kate and tough, pragmatic Ginger) work like a dream together. The script negotiates a delicate path between pathos and bathos, and somehow keeps its balance, even when one of the troupers loses her grip on reality and...Well, enough said. Best of all: this is the movie in which Hepburn gets to elocute: "The calla lilies are in bloom again...." Sheerest heaven.

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