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A Double Life (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1948 (Turkey)
Anthony John is an actor whose life is strongly influenced by the characters he plays. When he's playing comedy, he's the most enjoyable person in the world, but when he's playing drama, ... See full summary »

Director:

George Cukor
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Colman ... Anthony John
Signe Hasso ... Brita Kaurin
Edmond O'Brien ... Bill Friend
Shelley Winters ... Pat Kroll
Ray Collins ... Victor Donlan
Philip Loeb Philip Loeb ... Max Lasker
Millard Mitchell ... Al Cooley
Joe Sawyer ... Ray Bonner
Charles La Torre Charles La Torre ... Stellini
Whit Bissell ... Dr. Stauffer
John Drew Colt John Drew Colt ... Stage Manager
Peter M. Thompson Peter M. Thompson ... Asst. Stage Manager (as Peter Thompson)
Elizabeth Dunne Elizabeth Dunne ... Gladys
Alan Edmiston Alan Edmiston ... Rex
Art Smith ... Wigmaker
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Storyline

Anthony John is an actor whose life is strongly influenced by the characters he plays. When he's playing comedy, he's the most enjoyable person in the world, but when he's playing drama, it's terrible to be around him. That's the reason why his wife Brita divorced him; although she still loves him and works with him, she couldn't stand living with him anymore. So when Anthony accepts to play Othello, he devotes himself entirely to the part, but it soon overwhelms him and with each day his mind gets filled more and more with Othello's murderous jealousy. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Swedish

Release Date:

1948 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

The Art of Murder See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kanin Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first of five collaborations between George Cukor and the husband-and-wife writing team of Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon between 1947 and 1980. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the last "Othello", Tony appears to be distracted by someone just off-stage. We know that Bill, the policeman, and the restaurant owner are standing where he is looking, but the only one he knows is Bill. He had seen the restaurant owner only once, and surely couldn't have recognized him in the dark; and he had never met the policeman. His final act implies that he knows he has been found out, but what gave him that idea? See more »

Quotes

Anthony John: How's the chicken cacciatore?
Pat Kroll: It's your stomach.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits appear against a theatre image with stage curtain. See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Trouble with the Curve (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Opus 10 No. 3 in E Major
(1829-32) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played a bit on piano by Brita
See more »

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User Reviews

Dark, Brooding Drama
7 December 2002 | by harry-76See all my reviews

Just the mention of playing role of Othello makes Ronald Coleman's Anthony John start hallucinating. Triggered by this project suggestion, Anthony finds himself murmuring lines from Shakespeare's tragedy while walking down the street alone and sitting by himself in restaurants.

Anthony's total commitment to his craft of fantasy, unfortunately, takes a deadly toll on his private life. Signe Hasso's Brita understands this, and instantly fears for her ex-husband's--now co-star's--happiness.

Here's a modern tragedy, scripted by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, of an actor who just couldn't leave his role at the stage door.

"When the actor starts believing he's the character he's playing, that's the time to fire him," remains a wise theatre management adage.

It's a darned good principle, too.

When the actor fails to maintain an "invisible wall" between himself and his co-actors, that's the time for some concern. Although practioners of the Stanislavsky tradition may achieve great "truth" in their work, they may not realize that this achievement is more "relative" than "absolute" and can become a "double edged-sword."

Anthony John's "character-absorption" tendency, while earning him a "great performance," conversely yields a decidedly unconstructive home life. Unless the actor finds some kernels of project idealism to enhance his personal development, the entire enterprise may be negligible.

Milton Krasner's dark cinematography and Miklos Rozsa's dissonant score supports George Cukor's pessimistic direction. Likewise, Walter Hampden's advisement for the "Othello" sequences adds authenticity to the Shakespearian flavor.

In the end, we have a shattering drama, holding within its fold a grave thespian caution: "it's only a character being played, not real life."

For his fine work as Anthony John, Coleman received an Academy Award.


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