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Stage Door Canteen
     

Stage Door Canteen

Director: Frank Borzage,

Cast: Cheryl Walker, William Terry, Marjorie Riordan

 

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Frank Borzage's Stage Door Canteen is a sadly underrated movie that hasn't been treated kindly by history. It was never a "classic" by virtue of its style or content, but it was unique in its time -- and a movie well worth seeing -- for its capturing of that mood and spirit which, in the wake of September 11, 2001, seem special and all the more relevant. The

Overview

Frank Borzage's Stage Door Canteen is a sadly underrated movie that hasn't been treated kindly by history. It was never a "classic" by virtue of its style or content, but it was unique in its time -- and a movie well worth seeing -- for its capturing of that mood and spirit which, in the wake of September 11, 2001, seem special and all the more relevant. The film's copyright lapsed in 1971, and even before that, it had been reissued in prints running 93 minutes, which occasionally turned up on various cable channels and unauthorized videocassettes. The Hal Roach DVD, distributed by Image Entertainment, is the first good-quality presentation that the movie has had in many years, running circles around the old Image Entertainment laserdisc edition in both sound and picture quality. It isn't perfect, to be sure -- although reasonably sharp and possessing good contrast even in the less well-lit shots, it still has a softer picture than a preservation-quality print or negative would generate in this medium; there's nothing lacking, and overlooking the occasional horizontal scratches in the print, the closest thing to a major flaw is the occasional missing frame and slightly choppy edits. Considering the care that did go into the video transfer, and the robust sound present on the audio track, the lack of attention to the disc's programming is a crying shame. The producers could have chapter-encoded each featured act -- there are dozens in the movie, ranging from comic Ed Wynn and singer Gracie Fields to acting legend Katharine Cornell and violinist Yehudi Menuhin -- but, instead, have used only eight chapters for the entire film, which seems a wasted opportunity; the movie has intrinsic value, but fully a third of the value in owning it is a chance to glimpse performers who, in many instances, left few (if any) other film records of their work. What's more, many of those clips are of more than historical interest; Kay Kyser and His Band put on a pretty entertaining and downright swinging show, and performers such as Ethel Merman and Count Basie and his band aren't to be missed in any film clips. The dramatic side of the movie also has its value, although that's a little less obvious; it might be on the sappy, romanticized side, but the portrayals of the men and women, and their romances, do reflect how folks saw themselves in 1943. At a 20-dollar list price, it's several kinds of bargain.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/26/2002
UPC:
0014381945829
Original Release:
1943
Rating:
NR
Source:
Image Entertainment
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
2:15:00

Special Features

[None specified]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cheryl Walker Eileen
William Terry Ed "Dakota" Smith
Marjorie Riordan Jean Rule
Lon McCallister "California"
Margaret Early Ella Sue
Michael Allen Harrison "Texas"
Dorothea Kent Mamie
Fred Brady "Jersey" Wallace
Marion Shockley Lillian
Pat O'Moore The Australian
Judith Anderson Herself
Kenny Baker Actor
Tallulah Bankhead Guest
Ralph Bellamy Guest
Edgar Bergen Actor
Ray Bolger Actor
Ina Claire Actor
Katharine Cornell Actor
Jane Cowl Actor
Virginia Field Actor
Gracie Fields Guest
Lynn Fontanne Actor
Virginia Grey Actor
Helen Hayes Actor
Katharine Hepburn Herself
Hugh Herbert Actor
Jean Hersholt Actor
Sam Jaffe Actor
Allen Jenkins Actor
George Jessel Actor
Otto Kruger Actor
Gypsy Rose Lee Actor
Alfred Lunt Actor
Aline MacMahon Actor
Elsa Maxwell Actor
Harpo Marx Actor
Yehudi Menuhin Actor
Ethel Merman Actor
Ralph Morgan Actor
Alan Mowbray Actor
Paul Muni Guest
Merle Oberon Guest
George Raft Dishwasher
Lanny Ross Actor
Selena Royle Actor
Martha Scott Actor
Cornelia Otis Skinner Actor
Ned Sparks Actor
Bill Stern Actor
Ethel Waters Actor
Arleen Whelan Actor
May Whitty Actor
Ed Wynn Guest Bit
Elliott Nugent Actor
Guy Lombardo & Orchestra Actor
Henry Armetta Actor
Count Basie and His Orchestra Actor
Helen Broderick Actor
Lloyd Corrigan Actor
Xavier Cugat Actor
Jane Darwell Actor
William Demarest Actor
Dorothy Fields Actor
Arlene Francis Actor
Billy Gilbert Actor
Lucille Gleason Actor
Benny Goodman Actor
Vera Gordon Actor
Mack Gray Waiter
Roscoe Karns Actor
Tom Kennedy Actor
June Lang Actor
Betty Lawford Actor
Gertrude Lawrence Actor
Peggy Lee Actor
Freddy Martin and his Orchestra Actor
Dummy: Charlie McCarthy Actor
Franklin Pangborn Actor
Helen Parrish Actor
Brock Pemberton Actor
Francis Pierlot Actor
Lina Romay Actor
Johnny Weissmuller Actor
Kay Kyser Actor
Sunset Carson "Texas"
Ruth Roman Bit Part

Technical Credits
Frank Borzage Director
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Clem Beauchamp Production Designer
Albert Dano Costumes/Costume Designer
Delmer Daves Screenwriter
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Harry Horner Production Designer
Hal Kern Editor
Sol Lesser Producer
James V. Monaco Score Composer
Hans Peters Art Director
Freddie Rich Score Composer
Harry J. Wild Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selection
1. Play Movie [20:52]
2. Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy [12:02]
3. Kay Kyser and His Orchestra [23:02]
4. Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra [11:38]
5. Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians [15:57]
6. Count Basie and His Orchestra [11:34]
7. Freddy Martin and His Orchestra [9:35]
8. Benny Goodman and His Orchestra [25:54]

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