Stage Door Canteen

Stage Door Canteen

name = Stage Door Canteen

caption = Original Theatrical Poster
imdb_id = 0036384
amg_id = A46387
director = Frank Borzage
writer = Delmer Daves
starring = Cheryl Walker
William Terry
Marjorie Riordan
Lon McCallister
Margaret Early
producer = Frank Borzage
Sol Lesser
music = James Monaco
Fred Rich
Richard Rodgers
cinematography= Harry Wild
distributor = United Artists
released = 1943
runtime = 132 min.
language = English

"Stage Door Canteen" (1943) is a musical film produced by Sol Lesser Productions and distributed by United Artists. It was directed by Frank Borzage and features many cameo appearances by celebrities, and the majority of the film is essentially a filmed concert although there is also a storyline to the film.

"Stage Door Canteen" is presently in the public domain in North America and for this reason is widely available in many DVD and VHS releases of varying quality.

Background and production

The film, made in wartime, celebrates the work of the "Stage Door Canteen", created in New York City as a recreational center for servicemen on leave to socialize with, be entertained or served by theatrical celebrities.

The real Stage Door Canteen on 44th Street could not be used for the filming as it was too busy receiving real servicemen. It was recreated in New York and at the RKO Radio Pictures studio in Culver City. There also was a Stage Door Canteen in the Academy of Music Building in Philadelphia.


The storyline of the film follows several women who volunteer for the Canteen and who must adhere to strict rules of conduct, the most important of which is that while their job is to provide friendly companionship to and be dance partners for the (often nervous) men who are soon to be sent into combat, no romantic fraternization is allowed. One volunteer who confesses to only becoming involved in the Canteen in order to be discovered by one of the Hollywood stars in attendance, ultimately finds herself falling in love with one of the soldiers.

Star appearances range from momentary cameos, such as Johnny Weissmuller, seen working in the canteen's kitchen, to more substantial roles such as Katharine Hepburn, who helps advance the plot.

Most of the cameos were filmed at the studio, but a number of spots -- Benny Goodman's, for example -- were filmed in New York City.

Cameos (alphabetical order)

*Judith Anderson
*Henry Armetta
*Kenny Baker
*Tallulah Bankhead
*Ralph Bellamy
*Jack Benny
*Edgar Bergen (with Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd)
*Ray Bolger (featured performer)
*Helen Broderick
*Ina Claire
*Katharine Cornell (This is the only film she ever made.)
*Lloyd Corrigan
*Jane Darwell
*William Demarest
*Gracie Fields (featured performer)
*Lynn Fontanne
*Arlene Francis
*Virginia Grey
*Helen Hayes
*Katharine Hepburn
*Hugh Herbert
*Jean Hersholt
*Sam Jaffe
*Allen Jenkins
*George Jessel (featured performer)
*Otto Kruger
*Gertrude Lawrence
*Gypsy Rose Lee (featured performer)
*Alfred Lunt
*Bert Lytell
*Aline MacMahon
*Harpo Marx
*Elsa Maxwell
*Helen Menken
*Yehudi Menuhin (featured performer)
*Ethel Merman (featured performer)
*Peggy Moran
*Alan Mowbray
*Paul Muni
*Merle Oberon
*Franklin Pangborn
*Brock Pemberton
*George Raft
*Lanny Ross
*Martha Scott
*Cornelia Otis Skinner
*Ned Sparks
*Bill Stern
*Ethel Waters (featured performer)
*Johnny Weissmuller
*Dame May Whitty
*Ed Wynn (featured performer)Orchestras: (all featured performers)
*Count Basie
*Xavier Cugat (with Lina Romay as featured vocalist)
*Benny Goodman (with Peggy Lee as featured vocalist)
*Kay Kyser
*Guy Lombardo
*Freddy Martin

ee also

* "Follow the Boys"
* "Hollywood Canteen"
* "Star Spangled Rhythm"
* "Thousands Cheer"
* "Thank Your Lucky Stars"

External links

* [ Stage Door Canteen] at The Internet Movie Database
* [ Big band from Massachusetts area that plays music from the era of the movie.

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