Stage Door Canteen (1943)

132 mins | Musical | 1943

Director:

Frank Borzage

Writer:

Delmer Daves

Producer:

Sol Lesser

Cinematographer:

Harry Wild

Editor:

Hal C. Kern

Production Designer:

Hans Peters

Production Company:

Principal Artists Productions
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HISTORY

The following acknowledgment appeared in the opening credits: "All rights granted by the American Theatre Wing which gratefully acknowledges and credits the producers, stars and members of all the theatrical unions, guilds, crafts and associations for their participation in the creation and continuance of the original Stage Door Canteen." The Stage Door Canteen, located at 44th Street in New York City, was operated during World War II by the American Theatre Wing as a restaurant and nightclub for servicemen. Volunteers working at the Canteen included stars from stage and screen. Although the onscreen credit lists the associate producer as Barney Briskin, various reviews call him "Barnett" Briskin.
       According to a news item in NYT , the interior design of the Stage Door Canteen was reproduced at the Fox Movietone Studio and at RKO Studio in Hollywood, where this film was shot, as shooting in the actual Canteen was difficult. According to an article in Movie Life magazine, producer Sol Lesser paid the Canteen $50,000 for the use of its name, and the Canteen and Allied Charities received the net profit from the film. As noted by an article in NYT , the Screen Actors Guild adopted a prohibition against "free appearances by actors in charity pictures" shortly before this film was produced. "The rule was adopted because eight cinematic projects were brought to the attention of the Guild's board of directors for which the sponsors made an appeal 'on the basis of patriotism by allocating part or all of the net earnings of the picture to charity.'" The Guild hoped that this ruling would prevent actors' generosity from being exploited.
       HR ... More Less

The following acknowledgment appeared in the opening credits: "All rights granted by the American Theatre Wing which gratefully acknowledges and credits the producers, stars and members of all the theatrical unions, guilds, crafts and associations for their participation in the creation and continuance of the original Stage Door Canteen." The Stage Door Canteen, located at 44th Street in New York City, was operated during World War II by the American Theatre Wing as a restaurant and nightclub for servicemen. Volunteers working at the Canteen included stars from stage and screen. Although the onscreen credit lists the associate producer as Barney Briskin, various reviews call him "Barnett" Briskin.
       According to a news item in NYT , the interior design of the Stage Door Canteen was reproduced at the Fox Movietone Studio and at RKO Studio in Hollywood, where this film was shot, as shooting in the actual Canteen was difficult. According to an article in Movie Life magazine, producer Sol Lesser paid the Canteen $50,000 for the use of its name, and the Canteen and Allied Charities received the net profit from the film. As noted by an article in NYT , the Screen Actors Guild adopted a prohibition against "free appearances by actors in charity pictures" shortly before this film was produced. "The rule was adopted because eight cinematic projects were brought to the attention of the Guild's board of directors for which the sponsors made an appeal 'on the basis of patriotism by allocating part or all of the net earnings of the picture to charity.'" The Guild hoped that this ruling would prevent actors' generosity from being exploited.
       HR noted the following about the production: HR news items reported that Art Arthur was to write the script, and that Paramount considered using Leith Stevens' composition "America Fighting" in the film. In addition, Robert E. Sherwood was hired to write "special patriotic sequences," and Lesser conferred with writer Rachel Crothers about contributing dramatic sequences. The contribution of these writers to the final film has not been determined. Among the performers considered for appearances, but who did not appear in the film were Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, Marlene Dietrich, Billie Burke, Loretta Young, Gladys George, Constance Collier, the Ritz Brothers, Sid Grauman, Patricia Morison and Eddie Cantor. Al Jolson was slated to sing a song by Al Dubin and James Monaco, in a sequence written by William Collier, Sr. In addition, NYT reported that Gertrude Lawrence and Ilka Chase were slated to appear, and HR reported that Jack Benny agreed to appear if violinist Jascha Heifetz performed in the film. Some scenes were shot on location at Fort MacArthur, CA. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Music Picture), and for the song, "We Mustn't Say Goodbye." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 May 1943.
---
Daily Variety
31 Dec 1942.
---
Daily Variety
8-Jan-43
---
Daily Variety
12 May 43
pp. 3, 15
Film Daily
12 May 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1943.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 1943.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 43
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 43
pp. 6-7.
Motion Picture Herald
15 May 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Jan 43
p. 1115.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 May 43
p. 1313.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Jul 43
p. 1432.
Movie Life
May 1943.
---
New York Times
20 Sep 1942.
---
New York Times
10 Jan 1943.
---
New York Times
25 Jun 43
p. 13.
New Yorker
26 Jun 1943.
---
Variety
12 May 43
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
The Players:
and Charlie McCarthy
Lucille Gleason
Marion Shockley
And other celebrated artists from Stage, Screen and Radio
The Bands
The Story Characters:
Michael Harrison
Trudy Irwin
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Frank Borzage Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Pres
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des by
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Interiors
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd tech
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Talent coordinator
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Bugle Call Rag," music by Elmer Schoebel, Billy Meyers and Jack Pettis
"Flight of the Bumble Bee," music by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
"Ave Maria," music by Franz Schubert.
SONGS
"A Rookie and His Rhythm," "She's a Bombshell from Brooklyn," "We Mustn't Say Goodbye," "Sleep Baby Sleep (in Your Jeep)," "Don't Worry Island," "You're Pretty Terrific Yourself" and "Quicksand," music by James V. Monaco, lyrics by Al Dubin
"The Girl I Love to Leave Behind," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"The Machine Gun Song," music and lyrics by Al Hoffman, Mann Curtis, Cy Corbin and Jerry Livingston
+
SONGS
"A Rookie and His Rhythm," "She's a Bombshell from Brooklyn," "We Mustn't Say Goodbye," "Sleep Baby Sleep (in Your Jeep)," "Don't Worry Island," "You're Pretty Terrific Yourself" and "Quicksand," music by James V. Monaco, lyrics by Al Dubin
"The Girl I Love to Leave Behind," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"The Machine Gun Song," music and lyrics by Al Hoffman, Mann Curtis, Cy Corbin and Jerry Livingston
"The Lord's Prayer," music by Albert Hay Malotte, words traditional
"Good Night, Sweetheart," music and lyrics by Ray Noble, James Campbell and Reginald Connelly
"Marching Through Berlin," music and lyrics by Harry Miller and Robert Reed
"Rhumba-Rhumba," music and lyrics by Castro Valencia and Joe Pasumy
"Why Don't You Do Right," music and lyrics by Joe McCoy
"The Marines' Hymn," music based on a theme from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, lyrics anonymous.
+
DETAILS
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 24 June 1943
Production Date:
30 November 1942--late January 1943 at Fox Movietone Studio, NY and RKO Pathe Studios in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Principal Artists Productions
Copyright Date:
14 June 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12294
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
132
Length(in feet):
11,864
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

During World War II, soldiers "Dakota" Ed Smith, "California," "Tex" and "Jersey" ride a train bound for New York, where they will be shipped out. California, a naïve small-town boy, befriends Dakota, who has no family. When the soldiers arrive in New York, they are given twenty-four hours leave, and all end up at the Stage Door Canteen, a restaurant for servicemen operated by many famous personalities. Included in the Canteen's guidelines is the fact that female hostesses are not allowed to make dates with soldiers from the Canteen. The soldiers are surprised to meet comedian Ed Wynn checking hats, actor Alan Mowbray waiting tables and George Raft washing dishes. Aspiring actress Eileen volunteers as a hostess and meets Dakota, while her roommate Jean sits with California, and Ella Sue meets fellow Southerner Tex. Jersey, meanwhile, visits his fiancée Mamie in New Jersey. The next day, the soldiers are given more leave and Jersey gets permission from his commanding officer to marry Mamie, while the rest of the soldiers return to the Canteen. Although Dakota likes Eileen, he is put off by her snobbery and leaves. A battalion of Marines is ordered to ship out that night, and everyone joins in a chorus of "The Marines' Hymn" to show their support. Jean, delighted by California's sweet nature, agrees to be his "number one girl," and the next day at camp, Mamie arrives to marry Jersey. That same day, Eileen is thrilled when she gets a lead role in a play opposite Paul Muni, but her excitement is diminished by the realization that she genuinely loves Dakota, whom she has offended. That night ... +


During World War II, soldiers "Dakota" Ed Smith, "California," "Tex" and "Jersey" ride a train bound for New York, where they will be shipped out. California, a naïve small-town boy, befriends Dakota, who has no family. When the soldiers arrive in New York, they are given twenty-four hours leave, and all end up at the Stage Door Canteen, a restaurant for servicemen operated by many famous personalities. Included in the Canteen's guidelines is the fact that female hostesses are not allowed to make dates with soldiers from the Canteen. The soldiers are surprised to meet comedian Ed Wynn checking hats, actor Alan Mowbray waiting tables and George Raft washing dishes. Aspiring actress Eileen volunteers as a hostess and meets Dakota, while her roommate Jean sits with California, and Ella Sue meets fellow Southerner Tex. Jersey, meanwhile, visits his fiancée Mamie in New Jersey. The next day, the soldiers are given more leave and Jersey gets permission from his commanding officer to marry Mamie, while the rest of the soldiers return to the Canteen. Although Dakota likes Eileen, he is put off by her snobbery and leaves. A battalion of Marines is ordered to ship out that night, and everyone joins in a chorus of "The Marines' Hymn" to show their support. Jean, delighted by California's sweet nature, agrees to be his "number one girl," and the next day at camp, Mamie arrives to marry Jersey. That same day, Eileen is thrilled when she gets a lead role in a play opposite Paul Muni, but her excitement is diminished by the realization that she genuinely loves Dakota, whom she has offended. That night at the Canteen, soldiers are entertained by Ethel Waters and the Count Basie Orchestra, and by a performance by renowned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, among others. California sneaks in his first kiss ever with Jean. Despite regulations, Eileen and Dakota meet that night outside her apartment and become engaged. Because of this, Eileen is barred from the Canteen for breaking their rules. When actress Katharine Hepburn learns that the couple did not just date but became engaged, she bends the rules and allows Eileen in so that she can meet Dakota. Unfortunately, Dakota and his friends have all been shipped out, but an Australian soldier delivers a message from him that he wants to marry Eileen on his return. Hepburn gives the tearful Eileen a stern talk about supporting all the soldiers even though she misses Dakota, and Eileen returns to work in the Canteen. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.