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The Actress (1953)

This is an account of the real life experience of actress/playwright Ruth Gordon.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Ruth Gordon (screen play), Ruth Gordon (from: her stage play "Years Ago")
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Clinton Jones
Jean Simmons ... Ruth Gordon Jones
Teresa Wright ... Annie Jones
Anthony Perkins ... Fred Whitmarsh
Ian Wolfe ... Mr. Bagley
Kay Williams ... Hazel Dawn
Mary Wickes ... Emma Glavey
Norma Jean Nilsson Norma Jean Nilsson ... Anna
Dawn Bender Dawn Bender ... Katherine
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's fun and drama in the adventures of a stage-struck daughter. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Debbie Reynolds was MGM's and George Cukor's first choice to play Ruth Gordon. After some time, Cukor began to have doubts about her. He thought that, although she had the right qualities for the part, she was lacking in other areas. He especially didn't like that she wasn't familiar with Shakespeare. He didn't think her test was all that good and cast Jean Simmons instead. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Clinton Jones: Why do they call this Elmwood Avenue? It's full of maple trees?
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over the cover of a photo album, and the film begins by showing us various photos from inside the album. See more »

Connections

Version of The DuPont Show of the Month: Years Ago (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

The Washington Post
(1889) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Music played during the exercise exhibition
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User Reviews

 
Spencer Tracy shines in Ruth Gordon's affectionate reminiscence of her father
15 December 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Ruth Gordon's play Years Ago, a sentimental reminiscence along the lines of Kathryn Forbes' Mama's Bank Account, looked at her stage-struck adolescence. In 1953, it became a movie, The Actress, directed by George Cukor, with the rarefied and mannered Jean Simmons taking the part of the straight-shooting Gordon. Oddly enough, the main character is not the aspiring actress but her father, played by Spencer Tracy.

In Clinton Jones, Gordon penned a difficult but irresistible character. Settled unarguably into middle age but still fighting it, he chafes at his $37.50-a-week salary (it was 1913) and pores over the grocery list while his wife (Teresa Wright) defends such frivolities as tangerines. A former sea captain, he latches onto any opportune ears like the Ancient Mariner and spins his salty yarns of ports of call on the seven seas. In the dead of a New England winter, he insists on sleeping in a hammock strung on an upstairs porch. The ham in Tracy rises to the challenge, and he manages to make Jones recklessly funny while still a bit frightening (near the end, details of his dreadful boyhood emerge to put his cantankerousness in focus).

As screenwriters, Gordon and her husband Garson Kanin custom-tailored many screen vehicles for Tracy and co-star Katharine Hepburn, where their relationship is said to take the writers' marriage as its model; here Tracy returns the favor by making Gordon's father so unforgettable. Gordon pays a tribute, too, by sketching her character not as she remembered it but as he must have seen her, showing little talent or wit but a penchant for dreaming up castles in Spain. By hiding her own bright light under a bushel, she lets the memory of her father shine.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Years Ago See more »

Filming Locations:

Inglewood, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,424,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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