The Stage Door Full of Surprises

Welcome to the the-ah-ter! A place of happiness, heartbreak, and fancy hairdos. Where dreams either explode like a confetti canon or fizzle like a flat cherry soda. Stage Door brings all these metaphors and similes together under one questionably-built dormitory roof bustling with silk stockings and spanx. Straight out of 1937, it grabs you from its witty come-backs and dead-body-in-the-suitcase jokes to the dramatic and emotional breakdowns.

Stage Door tells the story of a drama boarding house full of youthful girls trying their very best to make it on the stage. From Ginger Rogers to Katharine Hepburn, the acting is heart-felt and sincere, drawing parallels to their own personal journeys into “the biz”. As well as a harem of sorority sisters you’re dying to pick for your pillow fight team, there’s also the seedy producer, the disapproving father, and the comedic house cleaner who flaunts her lack of talent at every turn. The story moves seamlessly through highs and lows, sneaking in conflicts and producing drama exactly when the time is right. It is extremely well-balanced and the perfect way to spend an evening’s hour and a half.

The dialogue is like a character all its own. It slaps, it shocks, it saunters, and it sighs its way through the film. There’s something about those scratchy old microphones that makes you listen carefully to every line and fully appreciate the effort that’s gone into the writing. At several points there is dialogue on top of dialogue; at least two important conversations happening at the same time and both are just as fun to listen to. If you find yourself concentrating on one and completely missing the other, don’t be shy about rewinding and listening again. It’s like watching two movies for the price of one!

And speaking of old technology, there is even a scene with authentic galoshes. We should really bring those back in style. They’re just so practical! And while we’re on the subject of style, you can’t help but feel the urge to give every actress on set a hearty sandwich. They’re all so skinny! There is one scene with a cake in which you’re dying to see the birthday girl plant her face in it and devour the whole thing like she’s never seen sugar before. If only.

This movie is simply delightful and comes straight from the golden age of cinema. The girls’ struggles are believable and you find yourself rooting for nearly all of the characters. From the mouth of someone who finds old movies a little cheesy and usually over-acted, I can tell you with absolute confidence that this film is a true prize and a 10/10. I’m even considering buying the DVD (if there is one… maybe the VHS … or perhaps the film reel). Now there’s a good recommendation if ever there was one!

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