Stage Door (La Cava, 1937)

Beautiful, snappy dialogue (which reminds of Hawks’ His Girl Friday) and an excellent look a female camaraderie anchored by the great Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. Stage Door doesn’t attempt to cover a lot of what traditionally might be called plot, but crams in mounds of story in a deceptively simple amount of time. It’s a great battle of words between women who choose to view the theatrical world with a sense of humor, and it’s a graceful slaughtering of the male hierarchy and ideology that often dominates their livelihood. Hepburn’s speech after her heartbreaking on stage performance touches every single one of her female boarding house mates, and not one of the men in the audience (all they care about is returns, headlines, and sex). This is a masterful scene as directed by La Cava, and Hepburn’s dismissal of the typical limelight in favor of her friendships makes this film a stunning achievement.

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