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Stage Door (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 8 October 1937 (USA)
A chronicle of the ambitions, dreams, and disappointments of aspiring actresses who all live in the same boarding house.

Director:

Gregory La Cava (as Gregory LaCava)

Writers:

Morrie Ryskind (screen play), Anthony Veiller (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Katharine Hepburn ... Terry Randall
Ginger Rogers ... Jean Maitland
Adolphe Menjou ... Anthony Powell
Gail Patrick ... Linda Shaw
Constance Collier ... Miss Luther
Andrea Leeds ... Kay Hamilton
Samuel S. Hinds ... Henry Sims
Lucille Ball ... Judith Canfield
Franklin Pangborn ... Harcourt
William Corson William Corson ... Bill
Pierre Watkin ... Carmichael
Grady Sutton ... Butch
Frank Reicher ... Stage Director
Jack Carson ... Mr. Milbanks
Phyllis Kennedy ... Hattie
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stage Door See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$952,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Judy Canfield: Do you have to do that?
See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER: A shot of a man mowing the grass around Kay's grave is missing from some versions. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood the Golden Years: The RKO Story (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
The calla lilies are blooming...
9 February 2002 | by gaityrSee all my reviews

Watch this movie, *any way* you can.

Seriously, you won't be disappointed.

It's a brilliant way to spend a couple of hours: where else would you get an all-star cast that would make your jaw drop today (Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller etc. etc.), and a clever, witty script played to the hilt by the astounding cast?

The story is fairly simple: Terry Randall (Hepburn) moves into the Footlights Club to begin her career as an actress. Viewed as an odd cookie by the rest of the girls, her room-mate Jean (Rogers) especially, she starts to win them over until she wins the part belonging to Kaye (Andrea Leeds). Not wins, so much as given. It takes a tragedy to turn Terry into the actress she could be, and the friend she eventually becomes as she remains in the Footlights Club.

This film benefits from a truly amazing cast: Hepburn is glorious as Terry, an independent, in-your-face girl from the upper class, unsure why she's not liked by her new friends as she blithely (and unknowingly) talks down to them; but fiercely loyal and protective of them nonetheless. Witness Terry's outburst in Powell's office, or the way she puts Jean, much the worse for wine, to bed. Hepburn is truly great in her emotional scenes, when she is called to perform on stage despite the revelation she's received just beforehand.

Hepburn alone doesn't make the movie though (as she eventually does in lesser vehicles with less worthy co-stars). Ginger Rogers as Jean is a breath of fresh air. She's quirky, charming, and just generally appealing in her role, playing Jean with a wonderful confidence that bodes well for the character. You warm to Jean immediately. I love Rogers' drunken scenes with Menjou--ditzy yet sweet.

The supporting cast is fantastic as well, Lucille Ball never missing a chance to steal a scene or make a quip, Eve Arden fast on her heels. Andrea Leeds overacts a little, I think, but is generally good in her demanding role as Kaye--she does an excellent job on the staircase towards the end of the movie.

Absolutely A+. Everything Hollywood should be, was, and now isn't.


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