Stage Door is a perfect example of what the so-called "chick flick" used to be before they devolved into soulless paeans to crass consumerism—sharp, biting vehicles for great actresses playing characters who dream big and succeed or fail on a large scale, all while shedding men like ducks shed water. Maybe the fantasy in the 1930s, when real-life opportunities for women were limited, was the possibility of taking charge and doing anything. Now when opportunities are approaching something like unlimited, maybe the fantasy is to buy lots of crap and do nothing.
Or maybe it's just that Stage Door had Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers and Eve Arden and Gail Patrick, and Sex and the City had, well, the cast of Sex and the City. But I don't think so.
Anyway, I treated Stage Door—which is as full of funny lines as any movie of the era—as a drama because underneath its snarky wit is an undercurrent of desperation that motivates nearly every character in it, including the one played by Andrea Leeds whose personal tragedy is the engine that drives the plot.
As for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I wouldn't say it's Walt Disney's best animated feature, but it was the first—not just his first but anybody's first—a risk so bold it was known as "Disney's Folly" until it made a sackful of money and changed the future of animation forever. In its field, it was as influential as Citizen Kane—and the songs are just so damn catchy.
And by the way, while we're being chatty, Katie-Bar-The-Door and I saw Grand Illusion for the first time in a ratty mall three-plex in Greenbelt, Maryland, which is a little like saying you ate Beluga caviar for the first time in a Cracker Barrel off the side of the interstate. We figured it must have been either a mistake or a practical joke, and we were the only two people in the theater, but, boy, what a good movie.
winner: Stage Door (prod. Pandro S. Berman)
nominees: Make Way For Tomorrow (prod. Leo McCarey and Adolph Zukor); The Prisoner Of Zenda (prod. David O. Selznick); A Star Is Born (prod. David O. Selznick); You Only Live Once (prod. Walter Wanger)
winner: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (prod. Walt Disney)
nominees: The Awful Truth (prod. Leo McCarey); Easy Living (prod. Arthur Hornblow Jr.); A Day At The Races (prod. Sam Wood); Nothing Sacred (prod. David O. Selznick); Shall We Dance (prod. Pandro S. Berman)
PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Grand Illusion (prod. Albert Pinkovitch and Frank Rollmer)
winner: Jean Gabin (Pepe Le Moko and Grand Illusion)
nominees: Ronald Colman (Lost Horizon and The Prisoner Of Zenda); Henry Fonda (You Only Live Once); Fredric March (A Star Is Born); Spencer Tracy (Captains Courageous)
winner: Cary Grant (The Awful Truth)
nominees: Fred Astaire (Shall We Dance); Will Hay (Oh, Mr. Porter); Leslie Howard (It's Love I'm After); Fredric March (Nothing Sacred); The Marx Brothers (A Day At The Races)
winner: Shirley Temple (Wee Willie Winkie and Heidi)
nominees: Beulah Bondi (Make Way For Tomorrow); Janet Gaynor (A Star is Born); Katharine Hepburn (Stage Door); Ginger Rogers (Stage Door); Sylvia Sidney (You Only Live Once); Barbara Stanwyck (Stella Dallas)
winner: Jean Arthur (Easy Living)
nominees: Constance Bennett (Topper); Irene Dunne (The Awful Truth); Carole Lombard (Nothing Sacred); Ginger Rogers (Shall We Dance)
winner: Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion)
nominees: Gregory La Cava (Stage Door); Fritz Lang (You Only Live Once); Leo McCarey (Make Way For Tomorrow); William A. Wellman (A Star Is Born)
winner: Leo McCarey (The Awful Truth)
nominees: Sam Wood (A Day At The Races)
winner: Ralph Bellamy (The Awful Truth)
nominees: Edward Arnold (Easy Living); Walter Connolly (Nothing Sacred); Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (The Prisoner Of Zenda); Adolphe Menjou (Stage Door and A Star Is Born); Erich von Stroheim (Grand Illusion); Roland Young (Topper)
winner: Eve Arden (Stage Door)
nominees: Constance Collier (Stage Door); Margaret Dumont (A Day At The Races); Andrea Leeds (Stage Door); Claire Trevor (Dead End); Dame May Whitty (Night Must Fall)
winner: Morris Ryskind and Anthony Veiller, from the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman (Stage Door)
nominees: Preston Sturges, from a story by Vera Caspary (Easy Living); Charles Spaak and Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion); Viña Delmar, from a play by Helen and Nolan Leary, and a novel by Josephine Lawrence (Make Way For Tomorrow); Ben Hecht, from a story by James H. Street (Nothing Sacred)
Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith (Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs) (Score)