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Terry Randall
Jean Maitland
Anthony Powell
Linda Shaw
Catherine Luther
Kaye Hamilton
Henry Sims
Judy Canfield
Richard Carmichael
Mrs. Orcutt
Stage Director
Ann Braddock
Olga Brent
Cast of Play

Theatre Patron

Eve’s Cat


Screenplay by

Based on the play by

Director of Photography
Art Direction by
Associate Art Director
Set Decorator
Film Editing by
Sound Recordist
Musical Score
Costume Design by
Makeup Artist
Assistant Director

Katharine Hepburn
Ginger Rogers
Adolphe Menjou
Gail Patrick
Constance Collier
Andrea Leeds
Samuel S Hinds
Lucille Ball
Pierre Watkin
Franklin Pangborn
Elizabeh Dunne
Phyllis Kennedy
Grady Sutton
Jack Garson
Fred Santley
William Corson
Frank Reicher
Eve Arden
Ann Miller
Jane Rhodes
Margaret Early
Jean Rouverol
Norma Drury
Peggy O’Donnell
Harriett Brandon
Katherine Alexander,
Ralph Forbes,
Mary Forbes,
Huntley Gordon
Lynton Brent
Theodore Von Eltz
Jack Rice
Harry Strang
Bob Perry
Larry Steers
Mary Bovard,
Frances Gifford
Whitey the Cat


Gregory La Cava
Pandro S. Berman
Morrie Ryskind,
Anthony Veiller
Edna Ferber,
George S. Kaufman
Robert De Grasse
Carroll Clark
Van Nest Polglase
Darrell Silvera
William Hamilton
John L. Cass
Roy Webb
Muriel King
Mel Burns
James Anderson


Film data

RKO Radio Pictures
92 minutes

Premiere: October 8, 1937


The Footlights Club houses a sincere group of poverty-stricken girls bent on show-business careers. Terry Randall, a smug, self-confident debutante, moves into the club for atmosphere and almost immediately her meticulous diction and extensive wardrobe far from endear her to the other girls. The antagonists include her acid-tongued roommate, Jean Maitland, a soft-hearted dancer with a gift for biting wisecrackers. Before long, Broadway producer Anthony Powell, a libertine who tires quickly of his girls, showers his attentions on the girls – first on Jean, then upon Terry.


Critics' reviews

Mordaunt Hall – The New York Times – 1937
"It is the type for role in which Miss Hepburn excels. Where most actresses in dealing with the part of a stage-struck girl might be tempted to over-act, Miss Hepburn realizes the need for restraint, evidenced by her brilliant work several years ago in Morning Glory, and in this current picture is equally effective. Her Terry is a vivacious, honest, intelligent girl."

Don Druker – Chicago Reader
"RKO remade this Edna Ferber-George S. Kaufman play into a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers, and while it sometimes lapses into pure corn, it nevertheless manages to capture the manic-depressive dormitory atmosphere of young actresses trying to make it in New York (circa 1937), The lines are witty and the Rogers-Hepburn pairing (Rogers pseudotough and on the offensive; Hepburn, starry-eyed rebel, always parrying) is appealing and funny. Gregory La Cave, master of the off-the-cuff style of 30s comedy, directed and won the New York Film Critics Circle prize for his efforts."

Geoff Andrew – Time Out
"Alongside The Woman and Dance, Girl, Dace, one for the great sassy-women comedy-dramas of the 30s. Taken from the stage success by Kaufman and Gerber, it's a bitchy, pacy slice of sociology that throws together a bunch of aspiring actresses in a theatrical boarding house, and watches them interact with lecherous producers (Menjou, Marvellous), boyfriends, and most of all each other. The casting is perfect: Hepburn as the Bryn Mawr upper crust type determinedly slumming it, Rogers (in her first bid as a serious actress) as the no-nonsense girl-next-door, and Leeds as the frail, hypersensitive thesp with real talent who introduces a touch of melodrama into the proceedings. Individuals and darker moments apart, however, it's the crackling ensemble pieces that remain in the memory, expertly timed by La Cava's civilised, generous direction, and located in lovingly authentic sets beautifully shot by Robert de Grasse."

What Kate had to say

Katharine Hepburn – Me - 1991
"My career was at a low ebb, and as we started to shoot Stage Door I began to observe that I was sort of listening in on scenes instead of dominating them. After about two weeks of this I went to Pandro Berman and said, 'Gosh, Pandro, don't you think – ' He answered, 'Listen, Kate, you'd be lucky to be playing the sixth part in a successful picture.' I decided to say something to La Cava: 'This character, Gregory, I don't know who I am. Who am I, Gregory?' 'You're the human question mark.' 'What's that supposed to mean?' He looked at me seriously: 'I'm damned if I know, Kate.' I listened. I said, 'Thank you.' And I departed. I gave up. And I shut up. I knew that it would be hopeless to say anything more to anyone. I knew that there was nothing as boring as an actor on the skids who is sorry for herself. Shutting up and being jolly was the cleverest thing I ever did. La Cava got sorry for me playing the rich girl and handed me the whole last part of the movie."

What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say

Gregory La Cava
"[Hepburn] is completely the intellectual actress. She has to understand the why of everything before she can feel. Then, when the meaning has soaked in, emotions comes, and superb work."

Lucille Ball – 1980s
"Katharine put most of us in a panic. The very way that she talked was just a little terrifying for me, I just didn’t know quite what she was saying. And she didn't talk directly to me at any time, so it really didn't matter. I was riveted to her whenever she was around – so was everyone else. She looked wonderful – she was, very beautiful, very slim, very chick. And not at all standoffish with us – she just ignored the whole set!"

Lucille Ball
"We all wanted to be Katharine. Even Ginger. No, especially Ginger."

Andrea Leeds
"At the end of a sequence, she [Hepburn, standing on the sidelines] would applaud loudly and cry out 'Beautiful!' It was a marvellous encouragement to all of us."

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