Stage Door (1937)

This film has it ALL- witty repartee, energy, humor, and pathos. You’ll see several lovely/talented actresses in their youth, before they became household names.  Though it was made in the ’30s, it will resonate w/ a modern audience, esp. if you are a singleton trying to further your career in a creative field.  Debutante Terry Randall (Katherine Hepburn) goes to live in a crowded, noisy boarding house (The Footlights Club) near the bright lights of Broadway.  Like the other young women there, she’s determined to become an actress.  Her roommate is Jean (Ginger Rogers), an argumentative and sarcastic blond whose specialty is tap dancing.  She’s like Meg Ryan, but more subtle in her acting style.  They DO NOT hit it off, as they are both outspoken.

Terry: I see that, in addition to your other charms, you have that insolence generated by an inferior upbringing.
Jean: Hmm! Fancy clothes, fancy language and everything!
Terry: Unfortunately, I learned to speak English correctly.
Jean: That won’t be of much use to you here. We all talk pig latin.

Another gal at the house is Judy (Lucille Ball), who dates often b/c she hates to eat the lousy dinners prepared at the house.  LOL!  Sometimes she double-dates…    

Judy: Do you want a date?
Jean: To some other lumberman?
Judy: Am I supposed to apologize for being born in Seattle?
Jean: Well, the last couple we went stepping with were made of lumber. Especially their feet.
Judy: All right, all right, you can stay here and gorge yourself on lamb stew again.

The morally upright Jean constantly makes fun of snobby/elegant  actress Linda (Gail Patrick) b/c she has chosen to have a relationship w/ older/influential talent manager, Anthony Powell (Adolphe Menjou).  Linda gets picked up in a car, eats at the best restaurants, and wears furs and jewels given to her by Mr. Powell.  She knows she won’t get ingenue roles at her age.  

Linda: If you were a little more considerate of your elders, maybe Mr. Powell would send his car for you someday. Of course, he would probably take one look at you and send you right back again, but then you have to expect that.
Jean: Is that so?
Linda: Do you know, I think I could fix you up with Mr. Powell’s chauffeur. The chauffeur has a very nice car too.
Jean: Yes, but I understand Mr. Powell’s chauffeur doesn’t go as far in his car as Mr. Powell does.
Linda: Even a chauffer has to have an incentive!
Jean: Well, you should know!

Most of the gals look up to Kay (Andrea Leeds- Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner), a sensitive/serious actress who got rave reviews last year in a fine play. But now, Kay is nearly wasting away from the disappointments that come w/ being unemployed.  She hopes w/ all her heart to get the lead role in Enchanted April.  (Leeds looks VERY much like Olivia de Havilland, the actress chosen to play Melanie over her in Gone with the Wind.)

Just getting any job, even dancing at a supper club, is exciting for the girls, who DO NOT come from money like Terry.  Their choices are to go home and get married or tough it out in the city.  They have to develop a thick skin, something that Kay lacks.

Terry’s fearless, no-nonsense attitude and sense of entitlement MAY get her far…

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