27 user 2 critic

Prince of Players (1955)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 24 June 1955 (West Germany)
A tragic and sentimental story that depicts the early career of the 19th century American actor, Edwin Booth with some mention of the events leading to the assassination of President ... See full summary »


Philip Dunne


Moss Hart, Eleanor Ruggles (book)




Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Edwin Booth
Maggie McNamara ... Mary Devlin Booth
John Derek ... John Wilkes Booth
Raymond Massey ... Junius Brutus Booth
Charles Bickford ... Dave Prescott
Elizabeth Sellars ... Asia Booth
Eva Le Gallienne ... Gertrude in 'Hamlet'
Christopher Cook Christopher Cook ... Edwin Booth at 10
Dayton Lummis Dayton Lummis ... English Doctor
Ian Keith ... Ghost of Hamlet's Father in 'Hamlet'
Bill Walker ... Old Ben (as William Walker)


A tragic and sentimental story that depicts the early career of the 19th century American actor, Edwin Booth with some mention of the events leading to the assassination of President Lincoln by Edwin's brother, John Wilkes Booth. In the film, Edwin's days in the spotlight dwindle shortly after his brother is caught and killed for assassinating Lincoln. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Were the Whispers True?


Biography | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Noted stage actress Eva Le Gallienne helped director Philip Dunne stage the Shakespearean scenes. See more »


At Edwin's opening of Hamlet in London's Prince Charles Theatre there is a lady in a red hat. She must have liked his performance, because she's in the audience for every subsequent performance. See more »

User Reviews

The Good, the Bad, and the Burton
11 April 2006 | by vandino1See all my reviews

This is a hit-and-miss film. It has a perfectly sensible choice in Burton as Edwin Booth (although the producers originally tried to get Olivier, of course) and Massey seems a fitting actor within the framework of the story considering he'd played both John Brown and Lincoln in other films. It also has a reliably expert score by Bernard Herrmann, and cinematography-wise is quite vivid. But scene-wise it expends much of its energy on Shakespeare and too little on the Booth family saga. There's not enough of the tumult of mad Junius (Massey) and later, not enough of the mad intrigue of John Wilkes (although we are spared John Derek's attempts at Shakespeare). Instead we get Burton's take on various Shakespearean works (not an unpleasant experience and good to see recorded on film) and his romance and tragic first marriage (Maggie McNamara, whose recitation of Juliet's lines are pedestrian, if not tragic). There is also some very clumsy direction, allowing the actors to ham it up (one small moment is Sarah Padden as Mary Todd Lincoln who reacts to the shooting of her husband with a silent hugging of him that is straight out of silent movies; and Burton should not be slapping a hand over his face during every other emotional moment). The finale, featuring an angry mob that Burton/Booth wins over is awkwardly handled, leading to a risible moment when John Doucette (a familiar character actor who later played the undertaker in 'The Sons of Katie Elder') starts clapping and rah-rah'ing to a stunned crowd. It's a scene, like many others, that isn't written badly, it's just incompetently directed, but that's all it takes to sink the whole enterprise. The Booth saga is fascinating and deserving of more attention, but cinematically, this film is all there is for now.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

24 June 1955 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Prince of Players See more »

Filming Locations:

Lone Pine, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,570,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed