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The Actress (1953)

Passed  -  Biography | Comedy | Drama  -  25 September 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 673 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 5 critic

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 »



(screen play), (from: her stage play "Years Ago")
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Title: The Actress (1953)

The Actress (1953) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Fred Whitmarsh
Mr. Bagley
Kay Williams ...
Hazel Dawn
Emma Glavey
Norma Jean Nilsson ...
Dawn Bender ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's hope and heart-ache in the adventures of a stage-struck daughter!


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Release Date:

25 September 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Years Ago  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Several cast members in studio records/casting call lists for this movie were not seen in the final print. These were (with their character names): Keith Hitchcock (Comedian), Mitchell Lewis (Stage Doorman), Matt Moore (Waiter), Walter Reed (John Craig) and [error] (Mr. Donough). See more »


In a scene late in the film set in the kitchen, the light fixture over the kitchen table is seen (and heard!) to rise up to allow the camera to pass below it. See more »


Annie Jones: Ruth, why don't you give up this going on the stage business and settle down with a nice man?
Ruth Gordon Jones: Oh, mama, don't be disgusting!
See more »


Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: George Cukor (1973) See more »


Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)
(1887) (uncredited)
Music by Juventino Rosas
Music played during the exercise exhibition
See more »

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User Reviews

sweet film about teenage dreams
4 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Actress" is Jean Simmons playing the great Ruth Gordon herself (real name Ruth Gordon Jones) in this 1953 film also starring Spencer Tracy, Teresa Wright, and Anthony Perkins. Simmons is out of her teen years but not by much - she was 24 - and manages to pull off being a 17-year-old who falls in love with theater after seeing Hazel Dawn in "The Pink Lady." Determined to become an actress, she writes to Ms. Dawn and when Hazel answers, Ruth is heady with excitement. This doesn't sit well with her beau (Perkins) or her mother (Wright) - and it wouldn't sit well with her irascible father either, except that he knows nothing about it. Yet.

The Massachusetts family home is lovingly depicted here, complete with a cat that is supposedly a big nuisance to all of them - Clinton Jones (Tracy) complains about him constantly, as he complains about everything, but yet has taught the cat a couple of tricks. You can see he's one of the family and that Clinton isn't as tough as he appears to be. The excellent Wright has what is often the maternal role in a family - that of go-between. And for the time being, she advises Ruth to keep her mouth shut. The funniest scene in the film is Clinton showing off his athletics with his group at the YMCU - he's a riot as his daughter squirms in embarrassment.

This is not a big movie; it's one about a short girl who desperately wants to be on the stage. As I was one of those teens once, I can say that the acting and directing capture this perfectly. Simmons is clearly a girl who can't be dissuaded by any negativity and who sees her goal as the only thing that matters, and it's one of pure bliss. She has no sense of limitation or reality - nor should she at that age. Time gives us that soon enough. It was a brave step in those days to refuse a marriage proposal and want to go off to a city to live on your own. Ruth Gordon did it and made good.

It's clear from the story how much Gordon loved her parents and how proud she was of her beginnings. She is one whose dreams came true, even if she had to wait until the age of 72 to become a movie star. There was plenty of a marvelous stage and writing career before that. "The Actress" shows us where it all began.

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