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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 <email@example.com>
Based on Ruth Gordon's play Years Ago about her childhood, The Actress is a good and uplifting tale about a young girl following her dream. Young Ruth Gordon Jones living in a Boston suburb dreams about going on stage. She doesn't get too much encouragement from her parents, Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright.
That does not stop our Ruth. She's determined to make it in the theater, but there is a matter of cash.
Spencer Tracy is a former seaman who now works at a lowly factory job and needs every dime to support wife, daughter, and a cat that's not particularly fond of him. This is not one of Tracy's better known roles and that's a pity because it's one of his best performances.
He downplays his daughter's ambitions almost until the very end of the film. I won't reveal any more, but there is an interesting dinner scene which is the key to the film. Very similar to the breakfast scene with Adolphe Menjou and Kate Hepburn in State of the Union where he tells them of his ideas for when and if he becomes president. Only here he tells the family the reasons for why believes as he does.
Although Jean Simmons was well beyond being a senior in high school she's a good enough actress to make it believable. It was certainly a more innocent time.
The Actress is a fine production from MGM and director George Cukor, pity it isn't out on VHS or DVD.
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