Stage Struck

Stage Struck weaves another variation on the wellworn tale of the eager young actress who can't persuade anyone on Broadway to give her a job until the star flounces out on the eve of opening night. The tyro steps into the star's shoes, knocks the audience right out of its red plush seats; veterans backstage murmur, 'that's showbiz,' and the camera pans slowly away from a solitary figure standing in the middle of an empty theatre; music up and out. It's a remake of Morning Glory, a yesteryear [1933] Katharine Hepburn starrer.

With:
Henry Fonda Susan Strasberg Joan Greenwood Herbert Marshall Christopher Plummer Patricia Englund

Stage Struck weaves another variation on the wellworn tale of the eager young actress who can’t persuade anyone on Broadway to give her a job until the star flounces out on the eve of opening night. The tyro steps into the star’s shoes, knocks the audience right out of its red plush seats; veterans backstage murmur, ‘that’s showbiz,’ and the camera pans slowly away from a solitary figure standing in the middle of an empty theatre; music up and out. It’s a remake of Morning Glory, a yesteryear [1933] Katharine Hepburn starrer.

Susan Strasberg plays the would-be actress who hounds producer Henry Fonda for a chance. He is intrigued by the girl but not as an actress and turns her down. Not so his playwright (Christopher Plummer), who sees her both as actress and romantic opposite. When the star of their show (Joan Greenwood) makes a temperamental exit, Plummer has Strasberg set to take over her role and she does with plot-predictable ease and success.

Strasberg occupies a major portion of the footage in this screenplay from a Zoe Akins play. She is not a conventional screen beauty but her face is expressive and lively. Fonda plays with his customary quiet authority and disarming command and Herbert Marshall limns a warming portrait as a stage veteran. Greenwood gives the rampaging star the Bankhead bit and very funny she is. Plummer has considerable depth to his playing.

Camerawork is striking, notably in the Central Park scene, a setting of a Greenwich Village street, dawn in Times Square, and the interiors of the theatre (actually the National on 41st Street).

Stage Struck

Production: RKO. Director Sidney Lumet; Producer Stuart Millar; Screenplay Ruth Goetz, Augustus Goetz; Camera Franz Planer, Maurice Hartzband; Editor Stuart Gilmore; Music Alex North; Art Director Kim Edgar Swados

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1958. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Henry Fonda Susan Strasberg Joan Greenwood Herbert Marshall Christopher Plummer Patricia Englund

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