6.8/10
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A Damsel in Distress (1937)

Passed | | Comedy, Music, 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 »

Director:

George Stevens

Writers:

P.G. Wodehouse (from the story by), Ian Hay (play) | 5 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Jerry Halliday
George Burns ... George
Gracie Allen ... Gracie
Joan Fontaine ... Lady Alyce
Reginald Gardiner ... Keggs
Ray Noble ... Reggie
Constance Collier ... Lady Caroline
Montagu Love ... Lord Marshmorton
Harry Watson Harry Watson ... Albert
Jan Duggan ... 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:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Demoiselle en détresse See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,035,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

R.L. Stine's favorite movie. See more »

Goofs

Lord Marshmorton calls Reggie a "saxaphone-playing pest", when Reggie has been playing the trumpet. See more »

Quotes

George: If you're not here on time, I'll have to get myself another stenographer.
Gracie: Another stenographer? Do you think there's enough work for the two of us?
George: Look. I mean I'm going to fire you.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
RKO Gershwin dance-fest
22 December 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Fred's first film for a while without Ginger was a money-loser for RKO, and it is easy to see why. The main problem is the lacklustre playing of young British actress Joan Fontaine, out of her depth in a film that requires her to be both alluring and a fitting dance partner for Astaire. That she is no dancer is made clear by George Stevens's ham-fisted direction of their one duet, using trees as bad camouflage for her lack of skill.

Aside from a fitting leading lady, though, there's quite a few things that keep you watching. Fred Astaire has some fine solo dance pieces to do, especially using percussion instruments. There's a lot of interplay with the talented comics George Burns and Gracie Allen, too, which lifts the pace a lot. One section has the three of them ending a Fun House trip by dancing in the Hall of Mirrors.

There's a good Gershwin score, including such gems as 'Nice Work If You Can Get It', and there's even an opera-loving butler, whose obsession comes to a head in a hugely enjoyable piece of humour. But 'A Damsel in Distress' is ultimately let down by the damsel, who doesn't measure up!


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