40 user 17 critic

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 »


George Stevens


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




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


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


It's Smooth! It's Smart! It's Snappy! New Songs! New Steps! New Laughs! See more »


Comedy | Music | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Fred Astaire was so impressed by the work of Joe Niemeyer on this picture that he hired him as his stand-in, a role he would fulfill for the next twenty years. See more »


When the butler brings Lort Marshmorton a glass of milk in the garden, in the last closer shot of the two, the glass of milk on the tray has been painted in frame-by-frame, probably to prevent an obvious continuity error of a less-than-full glass. See more »


Gracie: She's here?
Jerry Halliday: Who?
Gracie: The girl who slapped you.
Jerry Halliday: Where?
Gracie: On the jaw.
See more »


Featured in George Burns' 95th Birthday Party (1991) See more »


Things Are Looking Up
(1937) (uncredited)
Words by Ira Gershwin
Music by George Gershwin
Song performed by Fred Astaire
Dance performed by Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine
See more »

User Reviews

Not the best Astaire, but some terrific dancing w/ Gracie & George
16 February 2005 | by uberlibrarianSee all my reviews

I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one, when I read about Fred Astaire teaming up with George Burns & Gracie Allen in a movie with a script by P.G. Wodehouse and music by the Gershwins. It is definitely worth seeing, but lacks the cohesive quality of the Fred & Ginger movies.

The story would probably be better to read in a Wodehouse book, where the humor comes across better. Some of the acting is downright painful to watch (notably the young boy and the damsel).

But...! The funhouse dance is worth more than most movies. I never knew that Gracie Allen could dance, but boy does she in this movie. Have you ever tried to remain standing on one of those spinning discs in a funhouse? Imagine tapdancing on one in high heels! She keeps up wonderfully with Astaire and adds greatly to the overall quality of the picture.

Several nice songs, particularly fun are Nice Work if you Can Get It and Stiff Upper Lip.

Recommended for fans of Astaire, Burns & Allen. I had to go back and re-watch the funhouse dance as soon as the credits rolled.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

19 November 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Damsel in Distress See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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