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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
Katharine Hepburn's box office power had been declining and was given a smaller part than she was accustomed, and initially she was to receive second billing under Ginger Rogers. Hepburn protested to RKO producer Pandro S. Berman, who told Hepburn "she was lucky to have the 7th role in a star picture". Hepburn persisted and was given more scenes as filming progressed, and she and Ginger Rogers eventually shared side-by-side top billing. 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 »
[giving her curtain speech at the end of a trimphant opening night performance of the play within the movie]
The person you should be applauding died a few hours ago. I hope that wherever she is, she knows and understands and forgives.
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One of the best examples of Hollywood's Golden Age
I don't quite know how to put my passion for this film into words. It's something I never expected. I taped it off of television because I've been on a Ginger Rogers kick lately (I think I'm in love with her), and very luckily experienced something of enormous quality.
There is not a regular plot. Unlike most classical cinema, the goal towards which the film is striving is quite tenuous. Basically, the goal is for Katherine Hepburn to get a part in a play and give a good performance, but it is never stressed. Instead, what we get is more of an ensemble piece. There are characters who are more central than others, but we get to know well a great number of characters. And we live with them, experience their dreams, hardships, and successes, falling more and more deeply in love with them every minute, caring about them as we would dear friends or siblings.
It is most often referred to as a comedy, and the dialogue tends to be hilarious (Ginger Rogers is in full form here, wisecracking at the speed of light), but the film's drama is very affecting, too. This film's ending is so beautiful, and like all great films, we're reluctant to say goodbye to the characters. Fortunately, since I have it on tape, I can visit the boarding house any time I want. Unfortunately, since this film is neither on VHS nor DVD, you probably cannot. Watch for it on AMC or TCM or other stations that play classic films. You will not be disappointed. 10/10
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