Friday, April 27, 2012

Where's Katharine?

See!  There really was a DVD release!TCM is airing Stage Door tonight at 8:00 PM ET as part of a night of movies set in boarding houses. In this case, that's the Footlights Club, a New York City boarding house for aspiring stage actresses, with the movie having a wonderful cast, even if you don't like Hepburn that much. There's Ginger Rogers as the other female lead; she plays the "veteran" if you will of the boarding house. Hepburn plays the naïve new girl, fresh off the bus from somewhere in the Midwest or New England.

Lucille Ball plays one of the roomers, and a very young Ann Miller gets to dance a scene with Ginger Rogers. If you've been watching TCM, you'll probably have seen the "Word of Mouth" piece Miller did on wanting to do a dance number with Ginger. Oh, and I can also mention Gail Patrick and Eve Arden in supporting roles. As for the men, the one big male role is Adolphe Menjou as the theatrical producer; Menjou playing well as an elegant-looking man who has the same slimy intentions as Guy Kibbee would have had in 42nd Street.

The film is more of an ensemble movie with a slice-of-life theme than one with a real plot, but that doesn't mean it's not an entertaining film. That having been said, what I'm really wondering about is the DVD availability. TCM's website says it's not available for purchase from the TCM shop. IMDb links to Amazon, and says that there has been a DVD release. Well, two actually. One was back in 2005, so that would unsurprisingly be out of print. The second, however is a TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection box set of four Hepburn films. It very much surprises me that TCM could put a film like this on a box set, and then apparently stop printing the box set. Not only that, but if they've remastered the movie for a DVD release, you'd think they could also make the movie available as a single film in the Warner Archive set. More pricey, but at least still available.

Then again, there's something fishy on the Amazon page. The big bold heading at the top of the page says 2006. To be honest, I don't remember when TCM first started making these four-film box sets that they've been advertising. But 2006 I think was some time before they started the Warner Archive, which might explain why a film like Stage Door might not have gotten a release to the Archive. On the other hand, if you scroll down, you'll see that they list a release date for the collection of March 13, 2012. This has to be an error, since one of the two reviews is dated two months earlier.

I'm not a huge fan of Katharine Hepburn, but the all-star case of Stage Door makes it a great candidate for another DVD release.

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