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Stage Struck

Stage Struck(1958)

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The opening credits begin with the following written statement: "This picture was filmed entirely in New York City." The opening screenwriting credit reads: "Screenplay by Ruth and Augustus Goetz." In the scene in which "Eva Lovelace" performs at a nightclub, Susan Strasberg recites the A. E. Houseman poem "When I Was One and Twenty" and part of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee." During the party scene, she and Herbert Marshall perform almost all of Act II, Scene II of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
       According to modern sources, David O. Selznick originally expressed interest in Stage Struck as a vehicle for Jennifer Jones, under the direction of Harold Clurman. Daily Variety reported on July 9, 1956 that the Goetzes has been signed to write the script, an adaptation of Zo Atkins' play, which had earlier been filmed in 1933 by RKO under the title Morning Glory (directed by Lowell Sherman and starring Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Adolphe Menjou; see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). Jean Simmons was originally cast as Eva, but according to a March 6, 1958 "Rambling Reporter" item in Hollywood Reporter, she left the production to star in Dr. Spock, a film that was never made. Canadian-born actor Christopher Plummer made his feature film debut in Stage Struck.
       As noted in the Motion Picture Herald review, Stage Struck was the first feature produced by RKO after the liquidation of its domestic distribution arm. That review estimates the film's budget at $2 million. According to modern sources, Strasberg, the daughter of renowned acting teacher Lee Strasberg, was hampered during production by the constant presence of her father. [Lee Strasberg was artistic director of the Actors Studio, which is referred to in the film.] Strasberg stated in a modern interview that she revered Fonda, who remained "removed and aloof" during filming. Although the Hollywood Reporter reviewer called her performance "brilliant," most critics compared Strasberg unfavorably to Hepburn, who won her first Academy Award as Best Actress in the original role of Eva.