Stage Door

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Another pick from the "free movie" section of Comcast's On Demand service. This one is from 1937, and (just like the previous one we watched) it whipsawed from a (sorta) musical comedy into a maudlin melodrama. Nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. It has a lot of "Hey, I think that's…" actresses.

Katherine Hepburn plays Terry, a rich headstrong wannabe actress who moves into a boarding house specializing in wannabe actresses. (Among the inhabitants are Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, and Eve Arden.) Many, many wisecracks fly between the young ladies, and they're pretty funny. (One of the screenwriters, Morrie Ryskind, is also credited on some Marx Brothers movies.)

Terry's father doesn't approve of her dabbling in the acting game, so he conspires behind the scenes to land her a part way beyond her skills. Could be funny, right? And for a while it is, then it becomes very very not funny at all.

Ms. Hepburn does kind of a neat trick here, first convincingly playing a bad actress, then playing a very good one.

Last Modified 2012-09-26 12:53 PM EST