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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

Technical advisor Walter Hampden, who supervised the Othello sequences, was a well-known Broadway actor-manager, with an extensive background in Shakespeare. 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: You want to know my name - Martin.
Pat Kroll: Thank you!
Anthony John: Also Ernest and Paul, and Hamlet and Jo and, maybe, Othello. I'm French and Russian and English and Norwegian.
Pat Kroll: I got mixed blood too!
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

 
Jealousy Self Induced
29 February 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I like my Ronald Colman dashing and debonair, the fellow you see in such films as If I Were King and Kismet. I like him as the epitome of civilization as in The Lost Horrizon and Random Harvest. A brooding Colman isn't a favorite of mine.

But in A Double Life precisely because his part as actor Anthony John is so offbeat for him, Colman was recognized with a Best Actor Oscar for 1947. It became his best known part.

Colman is an actor who really does take the Method quite seriously. He's just finished a successful run in a comedy of manners and he's quite the jovial fellow. For a change of pace now that that play has concluded its Broadway run, Colman is bringing a revival of Othello to New York. About as opposite a part as you can get.

His leading lady in both is his former wife Signe Hasso who loves him dearly, but can't take his change of moods when he's at work. Colman loves her dearly as well and wants her back. But he's heading for a mental breakdown when he starts confusing himself with the jealous Moor Othello and Hasso with her role as Desdemona.

Unfortunately Shelley Winters as a poor waitress who a depressed Colman picks up gets in the way of his madness and she winds up like poor Desdemona in the play. Killed in the same manner and now it's a matter for homicide cop Joe Sawyer.

Colman's performance is so good that one does kind of wonder is this an occupational hazard with actors? I'd shudder to think so, were there any unsolved homicides in or around Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles then they essayed Othello.

I could never quite buy the story for that reason, but I certainly do applaud Ronald Colman and what he did with the part. I'm sure there was a tinge of regret in him winning the Oscar though because one of the other nominees was his good friend William Powell for Life With Father. Others in the running that year were Gregory Peck for Gentlemen's Agreement, John Garfield for Body and Soul, and Michael Redgrave for Mourning Becomes Electra.

Colman gets able support from the rest of the cast including Edmond O'Brien who finds himself in the unwanted part of Cassio in Colman's jealous fantasy. Still you will find no Iago equivalent in A Double Life, no one prodding the jealousy, it's all in his own mind.

And that from one of the most cultivated and civilized minds of the last century.


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