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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Stage Door

Steve Hayes highlights the wealth of female acting talent in 1937's Stage Door:
It's an all-star free-for-all, when Katharine Hepburn squares off against Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller and Eve Arden in Gregory LaCava's classic story of life in the theatre, Stage Door.

Taken from the hit stage play by George S, Kaufman and Edna Ferber and using his trademark technique of overlapping dialogue, director LaCava puts these young fillies through their paces, along with veteran character actors Constance Collier, Adolph Menjou and Jack Carson.

There was no love lost between Hepburn and Rogers, which fueled their on-screen chemistry and made for funny and fascinating viewing. Newcomer Andrea Leeds received an Oscar nomination, over some stiff competition, as the sensitive and tragic Kay. The witty dialogue moves fast and furiously with each of the actresses getting a chance to "strut their stuff." It's everything about the theatre you wish the theatre would be. Gregory LaCava's Stage Door is a sure-fire hit!

I love that line, "Fancy clothes, fancy language and everything."  Wish I could find a way to use it sometime.

Your Head Trucker recommends this movie for some great early performances by Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, and Ann Miller - the last was only 14 at the time she made this picture, having lied about her age to the studio.

Constance Collier is also a treat as the faded grande dame of the theater; in real life, she was a megastar of the English stage back at the turn of the century, famed for her glamorous portrayal of Shakespeare's Cleopatra, among other things.


dave said...

"He gives her class & she gives him sex"... LOL

Russ Manley said...

That's a great line too. And so true.

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