Release dateDecember 9, 1938 WriterErnest Vajda (screen play), Mary C. McCall Jr. (screen play), Hans Szekely (from: the Hungarian play "School of Drama" by), Zoltan Egyed (from: the Hungarian play "School of Drama" by) ScreenplayErnest Vajda, Mary C. McCall, Jr. CastLuise Rainer (Louise Mauban), Paulette Goddard (Nana), Alan Marshal (Marquis Andre D'Abbencourt), Lana Turner (Mado), Genevieve Tobin (Gina Bertier), John Hubbard (Fleury) Similar moviesMatch Point, Clouds of Sils Maria, The Green Hornet, Sabrina, Miss March, In the Land of Women
TaglineWhat price fame for innocent beauties seeking careers in the theatre's spotlight!
Dramatic School is a 1938 American romantic drama film directed by Robert B. Sinclair and starring Luise Rainer, Paulette Goddard, Alan Marshal, Lana Turner, and Gale Sondergaard. Based on the play School of Drama by Hans Székely and Zoltan Egyed, the screenplay was written by Ernest Vajda and Mary C. McCall. The film was produced and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Aspiring actress Louise Mauban (Luise Rainer) attends the Paris School of Drama while working at a dreary factory job. Her fellow students begin to suspect that her stories of a luxurious life and her wealthy, handsome boyfriend, Marquis Andre D'Abbencourt (Alan Marshal), are just fantasies that she weaves to relieve her humdrum life. One of them, Nana (Paulette Goddard), maliciously invites Louise to her "birthday party", having arranged for Andre to attend. However, the plan backfires. Andre is enchanted by Louise and the lie turns into the truth. He showers her with gifts and takes her out every night.
Andre eventually becomes enamored of another woman and breaks up with Louise by letter. When Louise's friends show up, she tells them to take their pick of the fabulous clothes Andre has given her. However, to a late-arriving Nana, she shows the letter, as her "gift". Nana's heart is softened to her rival and they become friends.
Meanwhile, Madame Therese Charlot (Gale Sondergaard), an aging star and teacher at the school, is upset to learn from Monsieur Pasquel, Sr. (Henry Stephenson) that she will not get the leading role in a new play about Joan of Arc because she is no longer young enough. In her bitterness, she lashes out when Louise is late to class once again; she informs Louise that she will demand her expulsion. Louise follows her and, to Charlot's surprise, thanks her. Louise explains that she believes that to be a great star, she must suffer, as Madame Charlot herself had suffered early in her own career.
The next day, Louise defiantly returns to class. Madame Charlot announces that she has accepted another, more mature role in the play and recommended Louise for the lead. Louise gets the part and is a great success on opening night, receiving a standing ovation.
Luise Rainer as Louise Mauban
Paulette Goddard as Nana
Alan Marshal as Marquis Andre D'Abbencourt
Lana Turner as Mado
Genevieve Tobin as Gina Bertier
John Hubbard as Fleury (as Anthony Allan)
Henry Stephenson as Pasquel, Sr.
Gale Sondergaard as Madame Therese Charlot
Melville Cooper as Boulin
Erik Rhodes as Georges Mounier
Virginia Grey as Simone
Ann Rutherford as Yvonne
Margaret Dumont as the Pantomime Teacher
Hans Conried as Ramy
Marie Blake as Annette
Rand Brooks as Pasquel Jr.
Arthur Gardner as Student (Uncredited)
Ralph Faulkner as Fencing Teacher (Uncredited)
According to MGM records the film earned $433,000 in the US and Canada and $231,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $206,000.