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Act One (1963)

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Story of the life of writer/playwright Moss Hart.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Moss Hart
...
...
Joe Hyman
Sam Levene ...
Richard Maxwell
Ruth Ford ...
...
Warren Stone
Joseph Leon ...
Max Seigel
...
Lester Sweyd
Martin Wolfson ...
Mr. Hart
Sam Groom ...
David Starr
Sammy Smith ...
Louise Larabee ...
Clara Baum
...
Oliver Fisher
...
Teddy Manson (as Jonathan Lippe)
...
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Storyline

Moss Hart's best-selling autobiography provided the basis for this colorful backstage story. The film depicts Hart as a struggling young playwright in 1929, searching for a sympathetic impresario. Although his manuscript is rejected by a Broadway tycoon, a less prominent manager finally agrees to produce it - on the condition that Hart will get George S. Kaufman, a leading comedy writer, to collaborate on the final script. Hart sets out to convince Kaufman of his play's value, and so begins one of the most famous partnerships in the American theatre. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

26 December 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Primeiro acto  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film role of any kind for Jonathan Goldsmith (as Jonathan Lippe), who portrayed Teddy Manson, and who is now much better known as "The Most Interesting Man in the World" from Dos Equis beer TV commercials. See more »

Goofs

In an early scene, set in 1929, Moss Hart (George Hamilton) listens to a news broadcast on the radio which reports that former President Theodore Roosevelt is currently in Africa on a safari. Theodore Roosevelt died in 1919, ten years earlier. See more »

Crazy Credits

"Curtain" (instead of "The End") See more »

Connections

Referenced in True Romance (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Creative Process
7 December 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Four years before his death in 1961 Moss Hart wrote his incredibly successful autobiography Act One where he detailed the story of his life as the son of a cigar maker until the opening night of his first Broadway success, Once In A Lifetime. The film skips all of his childhood and early adulthood and concentrates on the creation of that first success and the process that went into it.

With Dore Schary producing and directing the film for Warner Brothers it certainly could be said that this was someone who knew the creative process and could empathize with Moss struggling to write that first success, accepting the help of George S. Kaufman who had already achieved success on Broadway as a collaborator with such folks as Morrie Ryskind and Edna Ferber and Marc Connelly. Two heads are often better than one when it's right two heads.

As this was written way before Stonewall, the gay side of Moss Hart was certainly not explored. Moss Hart married Kitty Carlisle and they did have two children, but Moss was forever a man on the prowl as any number of Broadway folks could have attested to back in the day. Young George Hamilton may not have looked Jewish, but he certainly gave off some attractive vibes.

With his hair styled as a straight up flat top and a pair of glasses, Jason Robards, Jr. was the spitting image of George S. Kaufman who probably put more wit into the mouths of actors than anyone else in the last century, not to mention some of the offhanded cracks he was credited with. Ruth Ford played a sympathetic first wife who was soon to be an injured innocent party when Kaufman got dragged into Mary Astor's divorce case via her diary. According to her Kaufman had more than wit available in his arsenal.

Eli Wallach puts in an appearance as a producer who was supposed to be based on Jed Harris who was one of the most disliked men on Broadway, the spiritual father of David Merrick later on. He doesn't get much to work with so it's not one of his better portrayals.

You also had to love that delicatessen round-table that included such folks as Jack Klugman, George Segal, and Bert Convy playing a young actor named Archie Leach. As Cary Grant said in His Girl Friday, no one ever heard from him again. Sort of a warm up for Hart of the famous Algonquin round-table where he and Kaufman were charter members.

Moss Hart probably came along at one of the peak times for creativity in the American theater and he became a very big part of it. He also got over his distaste for musicals being associated with quite a few good ones in his time, the last being Camelot. Maybe had he lived we might have seen an Act Two. But his whole life was one big creative process.


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