It isn’t Stage Door, as written [for the stage] by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. Instead, it is a hall bedroom view of aspiring young actresses who live in a New York theatrical boarding house and vent their bitterness against the economic uncertainties of legit employment in sharp and cutting repartee. It is funny in spots, emotionally effective occasionally, and generally brisk and entertaining.
Whether it was Gregory La Cava or Pandro S. Berman, the producer, who decided to throw away the play and write a new script on the old idea that there is a broken heart for every light on Broadway, is beside the point.
Story revolves around one of the minor characters, a talented young actress of promise unable to withstand the pressure of constant casting disappointment. Part is played for all it’s worth by Andrea Leeds.
Opening shows the inhabitants of a rooming house in the West 40s. They’re a high strung, noisy bevy of showgirls, nightclub dancers and embryo dramatic timber. Dialog is caustic as they comment on each other and the passing world of show business. Ginger Rogers does a floor specialty in a night club which gives her an introduction to Adolphe Menjou, a hardboiled theatrical producer and femme despoiler.
Katharine Hepburn, stagestruck daughter of a wealthy westerner, becomes Ginger’s roommate at the boarding house. Former’s father, in the hope he can discourage her theatrical career, anonymously finances a Menjou dramatic production, with Hepburn in the lead.
Rogers has more to do than Hepburn, but her part is less clearly defined. As a sharpshooter with the snappy reply she scores heavily. Her dancing is limited to a short floor number.
1937: Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actress (Andrea Leeds), Screenplay