Stage Door (1937) is a comedy/drama about aspiring actresses trying to make it big on Broadway. The actresses all live in the same theatrical boarding house, which is the setting for some of the wittiest dialogue ever put on film. The all-star cast includes Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Gail Patrick, Andrea Leeds, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, and Ann Miller. This is the movie where Hepburn actually says, “the calla lilies are in bloom again.”
|Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, and Katharine Hepburn|
Backstory: In 1937, Katharine Hepburn’s career was in decline. She had starred in several back-to-back box office failures. On the on the other hand, Ginger Roger’s career was exploding. Having become a superstar as Fred Astaire’s premier dancing partner, she had begun to branch out in dramatic and comedy roles on her own. Hepburn’s role was initially diminished to that of a supporting player with Rogers being the main star. Hepburn complained to the bosses at RKO and director La Cava and she eventually got her part increased and shared equal billing with Rogers on screen and in publicity materials. After the release of Bringing Up Baby (1938), which was another box office flop, Hepburn was out at RKO and off the screen for two years until her triumph in The Philadelphia Story (1940).