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 was in discussions to star in the original Broadway stage production of "Stage Door", but Broadway producer Leland Hayward, reportedly jealous of her deepening friendship with noted film director John Ford, cast his then-girlfriend Margaret Sullavan in the leading role. Hayward and Sullavan married one month after the stage play opened. Margaret Sullavan was considered for the film version but became pregnant with their first child, and the part went to Katharine Hepburn. See more »
In the scene between Terry and Tony Powell, where there is discussion about being 'framed', Powell is initially opposite Terry across the shelf with the photos, whereas in the next shot he has moved to being at right angles to her on her left side. See more »
[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!
I wouldn't be surprised if they get married!
[with genuine naiveté]
Oh, you're foolin'! Shakespeare's dead!
[Feigning surprise, playing along to entertain the others]
Well, if he's the same one that wrote "Hamlet", he is!
[playing along, too]
Never heard of it.
Well, certainly you must have heard of "...
[...] See more »
Utterly perfect example of movie entertainment, 30s style
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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