|STAGE DOOR (1937)|
Samuel S. Hinds
Gregory La Cava
|"When I get back to my room, you're the only thing I want to find missing."|
|Time: 92 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Leeds), Director, Screenplay and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: Terry Randall, a 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 aspiring actresses and the ever-present disappointment that theatrical hopefuls must live with.
BOTTOM LINE: This sharp-tongued, yet tender-hearted tale should be required for all young women who think they want to be an actress. Sure, time's may have changed , but show business certainly hasn't. It's a tough girl-eat-girl world where past success is no guarantee of a job tomorrow. While most of the women staying at the Footlight Club are more likely to find a husband than a career on Broadway, a few truly are called to the stage. One of them, Kay (Leeds) has actually successfully trod the boards, but despite her persistance and desperate desire to be onstage again no one will hire her. It's her story that gives depth to the film and despite it's obvious end you never once doubt Leeds perfomance. She will break your heart.
Menjou plays the sleazy agent who uses his power to find dates instead of stars. Rogers, Hepburn and Patrick all vie eargerly for his attention, as it just might turn into a job of a lifetime. None of them actually believe his stories, especially Hepburn, who uses her keen intelligence to turn the tables on him and get the job they've all been striving for. Hepburn has the toughest job in the film making her character likaeble since, unlike her compatriots, she doesn't need the money and she has no actual experience. That she pulls it off beautifully is a testament to her talent because, believe me, everyone watching this film is without a doubt pulling for Leeds.
It's the verbal sparring between the three very different lead actresses that gives the film verve and bite. If you told me they all got along in real life I wouldn't believe it since there's an undercurrent to their byplay that belies the upbeat reparte. They play rivals onscreen and it's a given they were in the real world as well. They are each perfectly cast, showcasing exactly why they became the movie stars they are. A superb supporting cast led by Ball, Arden and Miller overflows this little flick with almost more sarcasm and sass than it can handle. Despite the surface silliness and wit, STAGE DOOR captures the joys and sorrows that bond these women to each other and their dreams with grace, humor and honesty. The story is not always believable, but it is thoroughly entertaining.