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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>
"The Actress" released in 1953 by MGM, is a story apparently based on the life of actress Ruth Gordon. Here, a young Jean Simmons plays Ruth, "the actress." Simmons performance runs the gamut of happiness, sadness, and hopefulness -- in other words, just like many young people are. Simmons is obsessed with being an actress and will do anything for her dream. The story makes us ask ourselves: how many of us would sacrifice the life we know to pursue a dream? Anyway, the story is set in early 20th century New England, with Spencer Tracy playing Simmons father and Teresa Wright playing her mother. Tracy plays a stubborn and somewhat cantankerous role, a man hardened by life, and it just may be one of Tracy's finest performances. Wright plays the supportive mother to Simmons, although in reality Wright was only in her 30's here -- a good actress pushed prematurely into matronly roles. Both Ruth and her mother are afraid to tell Tracy about her acting ambitions, thinking he will hit the roof. Surprisingly, he does not, but he thinks she is not ready to be an actress and wants her to finish her education. One gets the impression that he had his own dreams, cut prematurely by reality -- marriage, children, and a working-class existence. The script is somewhat mundane and drags a bit at times, but the three principle actors are the real reason to watch this film. They do not disappoint. Also look for a young Anthony Perkins playing Simmons awkward boyfriend. This is not a big film, and it has some flaws, but still very much worthwhile.
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