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Stage Door

Stage Door(1937)

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Remind Me

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When Terry Randall, an aspiring actress from a wealthy Midwestern family, arrives at the Footlights Club, a modest New York boardinghouse, she is greeted by a bevy of world-weary actresses and chorus girls. Terry's haughty manner and highbrow tastes immediately alienate her from her fellow "troopers," who pride themselves on their sharp wit and down-to-earth style. Particularly leary of Terry is her roommate, Jean Maitland, a wise-cracking dancer who resents Terry's lavish wardrobe and judgmental attitudes. Because of her dubious liaison with theatrical producer Anthony "Tony" Powell, a notorious womanizer, Jean also dislikes another housemate, the sophisticated Linda Shaw. Loved by all of the women, however, is Kay Hamilton, a high-strung but dedicated actress who, although receiving rave notices for a play that she had starred in the previous year, has since been unable to find work. In spite of the pleas of her father, Henry Sims, to return home, Terry vows to remain in New York and make her way as an actress. While Terry is coached by Miss Catherine Luther, a theatrical has-been, Jean is spotted during a dance rehearsal by Powell, who arranges an audition for her and her partner Annie at a nightclub. Later Kay faints in Powell's theatrical offices after she learns that the producer has refused to see her. Furious, Terry bursts into Powell's office and berates him for his callous indifference. Unmoved, Powell dismisses Terry, but when he is approached later by a man representing a potential backer who has made casting Terry a part of his offer, he agrees to star her in his next play, Enchanted April . Powell then invites Jean to dine with him at his penthouse, and to spite Linda, Jean accepts. As predicted by Linda, Powell shows Jean photographs of his young son and estranged wife, plies her with champagne and delivers a "poor little me" routine to seduce her. When Jean slips into teary, drunken babbling, however, Powell sends her home, where Terry puts her to bed with sisterly care. Later Powell invites Terry to his penthouse and tells her that he wants her to star in Enchanted April . During their meeting, Jean storms the apartment and indicts Terry, who acts coy in order to save her roommate from Powell's unscrupulousness. Although suspicious of Powell, whose pose as a married man she quickly exposes, Terry accepts the part, unaware of the backer's request. Although Kay is stunned when she learns that Terry has been cast in the role she has longed to play, she bravely blesses her housemate's debut. In spite of Terry's insipid acting during rehearsals, Powell keeps her in the show and braces himself for a flop. On opening night, Kay advises Terry on how to play the difficult opening scene, then after Terry has left for the theater, jumps to her death. At the theater, Jean accuses Terry of pushing Kay to suicide, and Terry, dazed with guilt, struggles to make her entrance. At last finding inspiration from Kay's tragic sacrifice, Terry gives a moving performance that touches even Jean. For her curtain call, Terry pays homage to Kay and earns the forgiveness of Jean, as well as the approval of her father, who reveals himself as the show's backer. To Powell's disgust, Terry abandons the opening night festivities and, with Jean, says "goodbye" to Kay. A wiser and kinder Terry then is accepted by all at the Footlights Club.