Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category

I have been thinking about doing a blog post about some of my guilty pleasures in the form of books I could read over and over again or movies I could watch ad nauseum.  I have a small list in my head of comfort books and movies I could use to make up that blogpost.  I was formulating the post in my head when the greatest movie of all time came on TV tonight.

The movie is Stage Door made in 1937 and stars Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, and Eve Arden just to name a few.  This is a great movie and it is filled with the top female actresses of the time.

My mother made me watch this movie when I was a little girl.  I used to watch old movies from the 40s, 50s, and 60s on Sunday mornings when I was a kid.  Katharine Hepburn was quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses.  I was familiar with movies such as Desk Set, A Lion in Winter, and Bringing Up Baby.  Not to mention the groundbreaking films Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

My only knowledge of Lucille Ball came from the re-runs of the Lucille Ball Show.  And I didn’t know that Ginger Rogers even existed. without Fred Estaire.

Oh, and this is where I give away the plot of the movie, so if you’d rather be surprised, stop reading now.

This movie is exquisite.  With a primarily female cast, it takes place in the 1930s NYC in a boarding house for actresses called The Footlights Club.   The house is filled with young, hardworking, penniless, aspiring actresses fighting and scraping for the chance to be discovered.  In walks Terry Randall (Hepburn) a socialite who is set on trying her hand at acting.  She is certain that by applying her intellect to the trade, she could be a great actress.  The truth is, she’s a terrible actress as her wealthy father suspects.  He agrees to allow her the time to “find herself” while behind the scenes, he buys a part for her to give her the vehicle to fail and thus return home.

The part he buys could have gone to one of the other girls in the house.   A young actress named Kay Hamilton, played by Andrea Leeds, hoped for the part that was handed to Randall, who of course has no idea.  Opening night of the play, Randall’s big night, Kay commits suicide in her grief.  Ginger Roger’s character, Jean Maitland, spills the beans to Randall just before the play begins, letting Randall know in no uncertain terms that it’s her fault.  Randall is forced to go on stage with all her shock and grief and gives an unbelievably touching performance where she utters the famed line, “The calla lilies are in bloom again…” and she’s a huge hit.


In death, Kay Hamilton makes Terry Randall the actress they all hope to be.



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