A boarding house is full of young actresses hoping to be discovered on Broadway. Daily they talk of the rehearsals they were in, the parts they lost and nearly got not with jaded pessimism, but sarcastic hope. When Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn) walks in looking very high class with too much luggage and seeking accommodations, the girls push her away as an outsider and a threat. What’s a rich girl with such a big wardrobe doing in a dump like this? It seems that Terry wants to break into the business on her own, not with her family’s high class influence.
Among the countless girls in the boarding house are Jean (Ginger Rogers) and Kay (Andrea Leeds). Jean, a smart mouthed blond, gets Terry as a new roommate and through her meets Powell, am important producer of plays. Kay is desperate for a part, she’s behind on her rent and on the edge of being kicked out of the boarding house. When Terry lands the leading role in Powell’s newest play, it tears Kay up inside and drives her to desperate measures.
The thing about Terry is she is not a good actress until tragedy strikes and she finds herself to blame. Only until then is she able to pull from her own raw emotions and bring beauty to the stage. That concept makes the film all the more enjoyable.
In the boarding house, there is safety in numbers and confidence knowing you’re not alone. Together these girls can confide in each other, share their disappointments and build each other up. They find courage and a shield from their failures in sarcasm; nearly every girl in that house is a fluent in it. All that is wonderful, but it creates a lot of talk and not much action. In some scenes, the girls all talk back and forth so fast with hidden jokes in the conversation it feels like an episode of Gilmore Girls, only with purpose and classic style.
Really, Stage Door is just an alright film about the odds against becoming a successful performer uplifted by the way the girls pull together. The massive amounts of chatter start to drone towards the middle, suddenly everyone is upset and there’s a teary end. Maybe if you enjoy girlpower/girltalk chick flicks this could really appeal to you, otherwise all those hens clucking could give you a headache.
“When I get back to my room, you’re the only thing I want to find missing.”