Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Gail Patrick, Constance Collier
Director: Gregory La Cava
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Educational
Set in a theatrical boarding house, this film follows the ambitions of young aspiring actresses. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: NR Release Date: 1-MAR-2005 Media Type: DVD
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"The calla lilies are in bloom again..."
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Philadelphia Story" brought Katharine Hepburn's film career back from the oblivion of being considered "Box Office Poison" by the nation's theater owners, but she was making a string of first-rate pictures right before that classic 1940 film beginning with 1937's "Stage Door." Her next two films were "Bringing Up Baby" and "Holiday," both with Cary Grant, and all four films have Hepburn playing a rich girl. In "Stage Door" she is Terry Randall, a debutante and wannabee actress who comes to New York City to become a Broadway star. She moves into the Footlights Club, where she joins a company of poor, starving young actresses who are all trying to make it in show businesses.Terry ends up rooming with Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers), an acid-tongued but softhearted dancer. The two trade barbs over everything from Terry's extensive wardrobe to Jean's affair with Anthony Powell (Adolphe Menjou), a Broadway producer who is working his way through an endless procession of young women. His next big production is "Enchanted April," and in order to get funding he is cornered into giving the inexperienced and patently inept Terry the starring role. The part should have gone to Kaye Hamilton (Andrea Leeds), a talented actress at the club who is broke and on the verge of starvation. When Terry gets the part Kaye is crushed.Based on the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman, the script by Morrie Ryskind and Anthony Veiler retained the basic plot line regarding Terry, Jean, and Kay, while provided some wonderful crackling dialogue amongst the girls (some of which was supposedly based on overhearing the actresses chatting during rehearsals). One of the prime attractions of the film today are the faces that would become familiar in the future, such as Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, and Ann Miller. The show piece of the film is the play-within-the-play sequences, which was remodeled after a scene in the third act of "The Lake," the infamous Broadway play were Dorothy Parker got off the famous shot "Katharine Hepburn ran the gamut of emotions from A to B." This is where the famous line "The calla lilies are in bloom again" is uttered by Hepburn. In rehearsal she butchers the line and the scene in the most horrendous fashion. But then, in the grand tradition of opening nights in such films, Terry turns in a transcendent performance. The comparison of the two scenes is ample evidence of the range of Hepburn's acting talents at this point in her career.Admittedly it seems strange that Terry could be so inept, but the transformation is rewarding, as is the payoff of the film. However, Hepburn's performance was apparently overshadowed by the realization that Ginger Rogers was also a pretty good comedienne as well as a great dancer. Still, it is the ensemble nature of the film, with all those wisecracking young girls trying to make it in the big bad city that is the prime attraction. "Stage Door" received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Director for Gregory La Cava, and Best Supporting Actress for Leeds."
THE FOOTLIGHT CLUB...
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 03/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent film of the George S.KaufMan-Edna Ferber play about young Broadway hopefuls staying at The Footlight Club, a boarding house for young actresses. Katharine Hepburn is the rich one trying to make it on her own as a new arrival, forced to room with tough Ginger Rogers who's barely getting by. Others include Lucille Ball, Eve Arden (who wears a cat around her neck) and an astonishingly young Ann Miller. Terrific ensemble cast gives plenty of room to watch the soon stars to be (Ball, Arden and Miller). The film is a "comedy-drama" but features enough bite and serious situations to just merit drama. Nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Andrea Leeds as a doomed young actress who finds herself cast aside after once scoring a hit on stage. Oddly, Leeds faded into obscurity after this. Adolphe Menjou also stars as a snakey producer with a lecherous eye for young talent. Wonderful showcase for a wonderful cast. Good DVD print. Enjoy this one."
scotsladdie | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ups and downs of the residents of a theatrical boarding house. STAGE DOOR is a virtual showcase for the talents of Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn. The latters' career was in serious trouble due to rather boring films such as A WOMAN REBELS & QUALITY STREET; it was during this period that Kate was labeled 'box office poison' along with the likes of Joan Crawford. As Terry Randall, Hepburn gives a refreshingly honest performance (one wonders whether there was more than a little similarity to her own life in the role!). Ginger plays Jean Maitland with zesty aplomb; cheeky and affected, real and sensitive. Adolphe Menjou is in his element as Anthony Powell and Gail Patrick is so cold and bitchy that in one scene (when Ginger's on the phone) Rogers says confidentially to her pal "Hold on! Gangrene just set in!" I was not terribly impressed with Lucy's performance as Judy Canfield. A great fan of La Ball, in this early role, she seems a little awkward and self-conscious and her acting/personality is uneven; she was learning her craft. Amazingly, when I LOVE LUCY premiered in October of 1951, this fairly pretty 26 year-old ingenue we see here would become the most beloved comedienne on EARTH (she would look considerably prettier, too!). Ann Miller was only 14(!) years old when she played Stringbean and she's cute (her father got her a fake birth certificate in order for her to work in films: it claimed her birth year to be 1919 instead of 1923! --- her real name was Lucille Collier). As the tragic Kay, Andrea Leeds reminds me of a poor man's Olivia de Havilland; this is more than likely her best role/performance. Constance Collier is in fine form as the Shakespearean acting coach who meekly asks the plays director "Could you see an older woman in the part?" For a time, Collier was Hepburn's dramatic coach in real life. Eve Arden is amusing as the gal with the white cat (Henrietta) draped around her neck. The overlapping dialogue is beneficial to the film as it gives a feeling of natural spontaniety. An entertaining showcase of ripe and ripening talent for those in the mood for a nostaligic look back into the thirties."
Welcome to the Footlights Club
fwooshlet | Oxford United Kingdom | 02/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."