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A True Classic,
This review is from: Stage Door [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is another great classic (made in 1937) that belongs in the category of such memorable classics as; The Women (1939 classic, starring Norma Shearer) and Little Women (1933 Luisa May Alcott classic, starring Katharine Hepburn) that focused on the lives of women in the post-depression era.
The Footlights Club in New York City is a theatrical boarding house where young women from all over the country flood in to make it big in theater or Broadway. As they say, if you make it here (in New York City), you will make in anywhere. That was the dream of every girl residing in this theatrical villa. These girls are smart, intelligent, and beautiful, but disappointments are also common when they can't make it to the act or when greedy directors and producers take advantage of them. Sometimes rivalry could pit one girl against another and make it very bitter for everybody. This problem is solved since almost all girls are always cheerful, seek comfort in friendship, momentary quarrels are forgotten the next day and most of all their engagement in wisecracks and gossip make the crowd livelier and great to watch.
Terri Randall (Katherine Hepburn) is the only daughter of wealthy investor Henry Sims Randall (Sam Hinds), decides to become independent and comes to reside in the boarding house in search of a career in show business. Terri is fearless, very independent with a heart of gold, would like to do anything for a friend. Her roommate Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers) is beautiful, also very independent, bold, and fearless competitor in the pursuit of her career in show business. The writers have taken a softer approach to their friendship, we see some professional rivalry between them, but we also witness plenty of emotions, sisterhood, friendship, understanding, and sharing happiness and grief.
Other residents of the house includes cynical Judith (Lucille Ball), wisecracker Eve (Eve Arden), lively and always cheerful Annie (Ann Miller), snobbish and playful Linda Shah (Gail Patrick), and sweet and adorable Kay Hamilton (Andrea Leeds.) Miss Luther (Constance Collier), an older resident who dwells on bittersweet memories also provides elderly advices to the girls when they need them especially in acting. Anthony Powell (Adolphe Menjou) is a greedy producer who makes lecherous advances and deceitful promises at every girl he comes across, and every girl in the house knows about his serenading tricks. His butler, Harcourt (Franklin Pangborn) provides all the fun and screwball comedy you care to watch. These serenading moments are fun to watch as one girl after another rejects him.
The friendship between Terri and Jean comes to a head on collision when in a turn of events, Kay Hamilton, loses a part in the play "Enchanted April" due to interests invested by Terri's father, Henry Sims Randall. This part goes to inexperienced and somewhat erratic Terri. Neither Terri nor the producer Powell knows about this ownership except Henry Sims's representative. You would witness some hostilities among the girls against Terri but all is taken in good spirits and they still behave like real ladies. When Kay realizes that her dream of being a star is crashed and almost penniless, she commits suicide by falling from her bedroom window. Terri at the theater comes to know about this and filled with sadness and emotions, she offers a brilliant performance on the stage that thrills audience and movie critics. In a sudden change of events she announces to the audience that was not her performance but it was Kay Hamilton who performed on the stage and all the credits must go to her. This stuns the crowd especially all her friends and her best friend Jean. Part of final scenes reminds of another great classic, Sunset Blvd, a reverse of fate for the heroine, Kay Hamilton.
This is a true classic; fresh, sparkling, great girlish-dialogue infusing with humor. The rapid cross talk between the girls is filled with humor and fun to watch; this is reminiscent of quick humor seen in the movie "The Women." Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Andrea Leeds and Lucille Ball have provided spectacular performances and you must treasure this movie in your personal library.
1. The Women  (REGION 2) (UK and Europe) (PAL) ~ Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, and Mary Boland IMPORT
2. Little Women  [DVD]
3. Sunset Boulevard [DVD]