The Actress

Overview

The Actress is based on Years Ago, one of several autobiographies by actress/playwright Ruth Gordon. Jean Simmons stars as blossoming teenager Ruth Gordon Jones, who is determined to become a famous stage star despite the objections of her stubborn ex-sea captain father Clinton Jones Spencer Tracy. Papa wants Ruth to become a physical-education instructor, but she wants none of this. With the covert help of her understanding mother Teresa Wright, Ruth seeks out stage work--any stage work. Ultimately, it is Papa ...
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Overview

The Actress is based on Years Ago, one of several autobiographies by actress/playwright Ruth Gordon. Jean Simmons stars as blossoming teenager Ruth Gordon Jones, who is determined to become a famous stage star despite the objections of her stubborn ex-sea captain father Clinton Jones Spencer Tracy. Papa wants Ruth to become a physical-education instructor, but she wants none of this. With the covert help of her understanding mother Teresa Wright, Ruth seeks out stage work--any stage work. Ultimately, it is Papa who dips into the Jones family's limited coffers to bankroll his daughter's first big break. The Actress represented the movie debut of Anthony Perkins, here cast as Ruth Gordon Jones' gawky boyfriend.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Both director George Cukor and writer Ruth Gordon are a bit off their form in The Actress, a backstager that lacks the spark that is so essential both to tales of the theater and tales of youth (and, as concerns the father in the story, tales of youth long lost). Perhaps Gordon was too close to the autobiographical material, as much of the screenplay comes off as a bit too precious. Gordon also doesn't find enough fresh things to say about this oft-told theatrical situation, although she does much better when sticking to the relationship between father and daughter, and indeed creates quite a memorable character in Clinton Jones. Cukor's work is a bit dry, his pacing flagging too often. However, he does do a fine job of capturing the right period feel and setting, and he has several inventive visual moments, starting with a very nicely composed opening sequence that takes in the entire theater. Even better is the parlor scene between Ruth and her suitor. Comprised of only three shots, this lengthy sequence allows Cukor to insinuate his camera throughout the room in a very dramatically effective manner. In the title role, the beautiful Jean Simmons is surprisingly annoying; the performance is mannered and fluttery, lacking in sufficient charm and depth. This leaves the film to Spencer Tracy, whose performance is wonderfully rich and detailed. Teresa Wright has too little to do but does it well, and Anthony Perkins is notable in his screen debut -- especially clad in Walter Plunkett's excellent costumes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/23/2009
  • UPC: 883316127001
  • Original Release: 1953
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 49,554

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Spencer Tracy Clinton Jones
Jean Simmons Ruth Gordon Jones
Teresa Wright Annie Jones
Anthony Perkins Fred Whitmarsh
Ian Wolfe Mr. Bagley
Kay Williams Hazel Dawn
Mary Wickes Emma Glavey
Norma Jean Nilsson Anna
Dawn Bender Katherine
Jackie Coogan Heckler
Technical Credits
George Cukor Director
George Boemler Editor
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Ruth Gordon Screenwriter
Jack Greenwood Asst. Director
Bronislau Kaper Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Arthur Lonergan Art Director
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Harold Hal Rosson Cinematographer
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Lawrence Weingarten Producer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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