Stage Struck (1925)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |  
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Although she is largely remembered for her lavish screen outfits and highly dramatic vehicles, Gloria Swanson started off her career as a comedienne, and even at the height of her fame, she sometimes performed in films that played down her wardrobe and emphasized her comic ability. Stage Struck, parts of which were shot on location in New Martinsville, WV, is one of her funny mid-'20s vehicles. Although a bit light in the plot department, the film also has a great supporting cast, including ex-Mack Sennett star Ford Sterling and the highly capable and very statuesque Gertrude Astor. To please the fans who did want to see some glamour, the picture starts off with Swanson's character, Jenny Hagen, daydreaming that she has become another Sarah Bernhardt. The sequence (shot in color) fades to reveal that Jenny is really a waitress in a diner. Her boyfriend is Orme Wilson (Lawrence Gray), the head cook, and her real dream is that they will one day have their own eatery. But Wilson has one weakness -- his fascination with actresses. A riverboat theater comes to town, and he has a flirtation with its star, Lillian Lyons (Astor). Desperate to keep her man, Jenny convinces the manager of the floating theater, Waldo Buck (Sterling), to allow her to go on-stage. He introduces her as the "Masked Marvel" and sets her up in a boxing match with Lillian. Instead of being enthralled, Wilson is disgusted, so Jenny, in despair, attempts to throw herself overboard. Instead, her bloomers catch on a hook, leaving her suspended in midair. While she's hanging there, she and Wilson straighten things out, and by the time he rescues her, they have made up.