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FOREVER FEMALE

               

A perhaps forgotten film, the comedy-drama "Forever Female" (1953, b/w) is a good backstage tale with echoes of "All About Eve," though it ultimately goes off in a different direction.

Now it's on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, courtesy of the boutique label Olive Films.

Ginger Rogers holds court as aging Broadway star Beatrice Page, starring in projects produced by her ex-husband Harry Phillips (Paul Douglas), who still carries a torch for her.

But Beatrice insists on playing characters that are far too young for her, and that perception is beginning to be noticed by the audience, especially those in the front row. She is also dating dashing younger men, much to Harry's chagrin. (As the film opens she is being escorted by George Reeves, who was just about to become a star as TV's Superman).

When Beatrice and Harry's latest play proves to be a flop, Harry sees potential in a script by a young, unproduced playwright named Stanley Krown (William Holden).

             

 William Holden, left, Ginger Rogers, Pat Crowley, 'Forever Female'

His show is written for a younger actress and Stanley wants Beatrice to play the main character's mother, but, of course, Beatrice wants the lead, and after some wrestling with his conscience, Stanley begins reworking his masterpiece.

Meanwhile, a young actress (Pat Crowley) comes along who feels she is perfect for the younger role and is certain Beatrice is too old, and she eventually takes drastic measures to prove her point.

"Forever Female" is a light piece of fluff but it's fun, especially for theater fans, with its portrayal of life among those who trod the boards.

            

Interestingly, at the end of the film, Crowley receives a closeup and special billing as "A future Paramount star."

Although she has worked steadily since her film debut in "Forever Female," she never did rise to the level of stardom, laboring primarily in supporting roles in a variety of films and myriad TV shows.