Stage Struck Film Details
Overview: A young woman arrives in New York City determined to become a great theatrical star, but discovers that her goal may not be as easily attainable as she had hoped.
Tagline: Ten thousand girls dream her dream every night.
Review: As several reviewers have remarked, the chief attraction of Sidney Lumet’s film lies in its evocation of New York in the mid-Fifties. From its opening tracking shots of Broadway, showing the popular shows of the time (including SEPARATE TABLES), to the regular establishing shots of the cars and taxicabs moving endlessly up and down, the film makes us aware of the fact that the action will take place in a confined location, wherein everyone knows everyone else. In this kind of environment, egos are both fragile yet inflated. Joan Greenwood’s Rita Vernon offers a prime example – someone who believes in her abilities as an “ACTOR,” yet perpetually haunted by the belief that she could somehow lose her stardom. Hence her relentless pursuit of producer Lewis Easton (Henry Fonda). The sequence where they negotiate her future contract, while locked in a passionate embrace, is masterly, revealing how personal and professional issues are inseparable. As the would-be star “Eva Lovelace” (the falseness of the name reveals how artificial Broadway life actually is), Susan Strasberg represents a breath of fresh air. While certainly not possessed of the acting- skills of her illustrious costars, she possesses a sincerity of purpose that proves extremely attractive. Her rendition of the balcony-scene from ROMEO AND JULIET at Easton’s first night party is strangely haunting. Director Sidney Lumet understands this, which helps to explain why he shoots the sequence in a series of close-ups, focusing our attention on Strasberg’s open countenance as she looks straight into Easton’s face. The story is a familiar one, as Lovelace takes over from Vernon in the lead role of a new play written by Joe Sheridan (Christopher Plummer) and shoots to stardom after the first night. Lumet wisely chooses not to focus on the performance itself, but rather on the backstage reactions: Strasberg’s wide-eyed expression of disbelief at her achievement is contrasted with the superficial reactions of miscellaneous theatrical hangers-on, who come to congratulate her with the usual platitudes (“Dahling, you were marvelous, always though you’d make it”). The film’s ending is perhaps too drawn-out, consisting of an extended dialog between Lovelace and Easton, but what emerges most tangibly is the fact that Lovelace has no real need to go and celebrate at Sardi’s (as directed by theatrical custom). She is happy just to stand on the stage, looking out at the auditorium and reflect on what happened during the last two hours or so. Although very much implicated in the world of Broadway falseness, Easton comes to understand her state of mind and blows her a kiss (“just from me”). Sometimes sincerity can triumph over artifice. STAGE STRUCK is full of intertexts: Eva’s name is a direct sonic reference to Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), another classic exposé of Broadway hypocrisies. At one point elderly actor Robert Hedges (Herbert Marshall) advises Lovelace to complete her education at the Actors’ Studio, which just happened to be run by Strasberg’s real-life father Lee Strasberg. The basic plot of STAGE STRUCK might be familiar – as other reviewers have remarked, it is a remake of MORNING GLORY (1933) – but there are plenty of ingredients within the ninety-minute running-time to interest all types of viewer.
Duration: 95 min
Genre: Drama, Romance
Also known as: Viattomuuden kukka,Stage Struck,Lágrimas da Ribalta,Född till stjärna,Fedakar Oyuncu,女優志願,Teatergal,Eines Tages öffnet sich die Tür,O pothos tis rampas,Quando o Espetáculo Termina,Fascino del palcoscenico,Zostać gwiazdą,Les feux du théâtre,Увлеченная сценой,Bag fortæppet,Sed de triunfo