by guest writer
Assembling a wonderful cast, Gregory LaCava’s movie, Stage Door (1937), is an ode to the Golden Age of theater. Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn) is the newcomer in a boarding house of future talents populated by women. Wanting to change something in her day-to-day boring life of a wealthy background, she finds herself challenged by her desire to become a stage actress. Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers) is of a modest heritage trying to become somebody in the business, but with no real luck lately. And Andrea Leeds (Kay Hamilton), the real discovery of the picture, is a tortured young actress who, after a great debut role, she’s been waiting for a year for a breakthrough part.
What will impress even more is the sharp intelligent dialogue developed after a play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. Often confronted with a sort of smart slapstick comedy, Stage Door delivers one of the most enduring images of the show business in American classic cinema. The drama aspect, which is part of every actor’s life is also a powerful source that makes the movie even more plausible. A very important supporting role is played by the playboy manager Anthony Powell (Adolphe Menjou), who is, in fact, a kind of epitome of “real talent promotion”.
photo: still from the film | RKO Radio Pictures