Former seaman Clinton Jones now works at a lowly job. His daughter Ruth wants to become an actress. Clinton gets fired and Ruth rejects the advances of Fred Whitmarsh. Her father gives her ... See full summary »
Arnold Boult is determined to make his son a success at all costs. He commits arson, causes two suicides, and bribes people. His wife, unable to leave him, becomes alcoholic and dies. His ... See full summary »
Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker star as a Kentucky backwoodsman and the woman who will NOT let anything interfere with her plans to marry him in this humorous romantic adventure through the American Frontier of 1798.
Pat's a brilliant athlete, except when her domineering fiance is around. The lady's golf championship is in her reach until she gets flustered by his presence at the final holes. He wants ... See full summary »
A wealthy woman, trying to discourage a former boyfriend from pursuing her, hires a young songwriter who needs money to pay off his gambling debts to pretend to be her boyfriend. The ... See full summary »
John Hathaway is a professor of psychology at Digby College. His students are bored as he is with the students. He leaves college to go to New York to have his manuscript on jealousy ... See full summary »
Fabius loves his beautiful but vulnerable city, Rome, and he also loves his beautiful but invulnerable fiancée, Amytis. Fascinated by the tales she has heard about Hannibal, who is about to... See full summary »
Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the ... See full summary »
Newspaper photographer Jim Tyler sneaks into a society girl's wedding, and the bride's sister (mad-cap heiress Sheila Hunter) decides she prefers him to her upper-crust suitors. She even ... See full summary »
Former seaman Clinton Jones now works at a lowly job. His daughter Ruth wants to become an actress. Clinton gets fired and Ruth rejects the advances of Fred Whitmarsh. Her father gives her his seaman's spyglass to sell as she heads for New York City. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Spencer Tracy shines in Ruth Gordon's affectionate reminiscence of her father
Ruth Gordon's play Years Ago, a sentimental reminiscence along the lines of Kathryn Forbes' Mama's Bank Account, looked at her stage-struck adolescence. In 1953, it became a movie, The Actress, directed by George Cukor, with the rarefied and mannered Jean Simmons taking the part of the straight-shooting Gordon. Oddly enough, the main character is not the aspiring actress but her father, played by Spencer Tracy.
In Clinton Jones, Gordon penned a difficult but irresistible character. Settled unarguably into middle age but still fighting it, he chafes at his $37.50-a-week salary (it was 1913) and pores over the grocery list while his wife (Teresa Wright) defends such frivolities as tangerines. A former sea captain, he latches onto any opportune ears like the Ancient Mariner and spins his salty yarns of ports of call on the seven seas. In the dead of a New England winter, he insists on sleeping in a hammock strung on an upstairs porch. The ham in Tracy rises to the challenge, and he manages to make Jones recklessly funny while still a bit frightening (near the end, details of his dreadful boyhood emerge to put his cantankerousness in focus).
As screenwriters, Gordon and her husband Garson Kanin custom-tailored many screen vehicles for Tracy and co-star Katharine Hepburn, where their relationship is said to take the writers' marriage as its model; here Tracy returns the favor by making Gordon's father so unforgettable. Gordon pays a tribute, too, by sketching her character not as she remembered it but as he must have seen her, showing little talent or wit but a penchant for dreaming up castles in Spain. By hiding her own bright light under a bushel, she lets the memory of her father shine.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?