Saturday, November 13, 2010

Radio review – Lux – “Stage Door” (1939) ***1/2

The Kaufman-Ferber play was altered substantially on its way to the big screen, although the central situation remains: conflict in an actor’s boarding house, the desperate and struggling girls, leading up to the suicide of one of the girls. Ginger Rogers repeats her film performance, and she’s really good – listening to a couple of Ginger Rogers’ performances on air, it struck me she never got her due as an actor, maybe because she played a lot of girl next door parts at a time when grand acting was thought to be dead queens and terminally ill (nothing’s changed, really). Garson Kanin once commented that Ginger Rogers could play any role as long as she understood it, and she’s very good here as the loyal, tough up and coming actor; Rosalind Russell plays Kate Hepburn’s part as the rich girl who’s slumming it – she’s okay but simply not as well cast as Hepburn. Adolphe Menjou is the producer and they include the suicide scene, which packs a wallop and gives the piece depth.

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