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Ed 'Dakota' Smith
Ella Sue
The Australian

And, the Stars
at the Stage Door Canteen
Judith Anderson, Henry Armetta, Benny Baker, Kenny Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Ralph Bellamy, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Ray Bolger, Helen Broderich, Ina Claire, Katharine Cornell, Lloyd Corrigan, Jane Cowl, Jane Darwell, William Demarest, Virginia Field, Dorothy Fields, Gracie Fields, Lynn Fontanne, Arlene Francis, Vinton Freedley, Billy Gilbert, Lucile Gleason, Vera Gordon, Virginia Gray, Helen Hays, Katharine Hepburn, Hugh Herbert, Jean Hersholt, Sam Jaffe, Allen Jenkins, George Jessel, Roscoe Karns, Virginia Kaye, Tom Kennedy, Otto Kruger, June Lang, Betty Lawford, Gertrude Lawrence, Gypsy Rose Lee, Alfred Lunt, Bert Lytell, Harpo Marx, Aline MacMahon, Elsa Maxwell, Helen Menken, Yehudi Menuhin, Ethel Merman, Ralph Morgan, Alan Mowbray, Paul Muni, Elliot Nugent, Merle Oberon, Franklin Pangborn, Helen Parrish, Brock Pemberton, George Raft, Lanny Ross, Selena Royle, Martha Scott, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Ned Sparks, Bill Stern, Ethel Waters, Johnny Weissmuller, Arleen Whelan, Dame Way Whitty, Ed Wynn

Count Basie and His Band,
Xavier Cugat and His
Orchestra, with Lina Romay,
Benny Goodman and His
Orchestra, with Peggy Lee,
Kay Kyser and His Band,
Freddy Martin and His Orchestra,
Guy Lombardo and His Orchestra

Cheryl Walker
William Terry
Marjory Riordan
Lon McCallister
Margaret Early
Michael Harrison
Dorothea Kent
Fred Brady
Marion Shockley
Patrick O'Moore
Ruth Roman


Associate Producer
Original Screenplay by
Director of Photography
Art Direction by
Set Decorator
Film Editing by
Sound Recordist
Musical Score
Musical Director
Production Designer
Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist
Assistant Director


Frank Borzage
Sol Lesser
Barnett Briskin
Delmer Daves
Harry Wild
Hans Peters
Victor Gangelin
Hal Kern
Hugh McDowell
Freddie Rich
C. Bakaleinikoff
Harry Horner
Clem Beauchamp
Albert Deano
Radie Harris
Lew Borzage,
Virgil Hart


Film data

A Sol Lesser Production
A United Artists Release
132 minutes
Produced: November 30, 1942-January 1943
Filmed on location at Fort MacArthur – San Pedro – Los Angeles - California – USA
Fox News NY Studio – Manhattan – New York City – New York – USA
RKO-Path้ Studios – California - USA

Premiere: June 24, 1943


Eileen, a canteen junior hostess at New York's Stage Door Canteen, meets Private Ed Smith, nicknamed 'Dakota' after his home state by his three buddies. They don't hit it off, because Eileen is really seeking out Broadway producers, not mere solders. Next day, the sailing is postponed and the boys are back at the Canteen, but Eileen is abrupt with 'Dakota' and he soon leaves. Later, her roommates upbraid her behavior and the next evening, she receives him warmly. Both soon find they are in love. The couple plan to get married and agree to meet at the Canteen at 5:00 P.M. However, since she has broken the rule about dating servicemen, the Canteen takes Eileen’s pass away. Katharine Hepburn, who is Officer of the Day, suggests that Eileen be allowed to wait inside. Shortly, an Australian solder brings word that the boys sailed that morning. Miss Hepburn consoles Eileen, giving her the strength to go on doing her important moral work at the Canteen until 'Dakota' comes back.

Critics' reviews

Lawrence Perry – Baltimore Sun – 1943
"....Katharine Hepburn, whose sequence toward the end with Eileen (Cheryl Walter) is as moving in warmth as it is gripping in sentiment."

Dave Kehr – Chicago Reader
"A curio from 1943, set in a servicemen's canteen where the guest celebrities outnumber the soldiers by about ten to one. Frank Borzage, one of the finest directors of the 30 and 40s, has little to do but direct the traffic here, but he manages to get such diverse personalities as Tallulah Bankhead and Edgar Bergen, Helen Hayes and Johnny Weissmyller, on and off screen with a measure of dignity. The non-stop swing sound track features Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Xavier Cugat, and, alas, Kay Kyser and Guy Lombardo."

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