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Act One (1963)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | 26 December 1963 (USA)
Story of the life of writer/playwright Moss Hart.

Director:

Dore Schary

Writers:

Moss Hart (book), Dore Schary
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Hamilton ... Moss Hart
Jason Robards ... George S. Kaufman
Jack Klugman ... Joe Hyman
Sam Levene ... Richard Maxwell
Ruth Ford Ruth Ford ... Beatrice Kaufman
Eli Wallach ... Warren Stone
Joseph Leon Joseph Leon ... Max Seigel
George Segal ... Lester Sweyd
Martin Wolfson ... Mr. Hart
Sam Groom ... David Starr
Sammy Smith Sammy Smith ... Sam H. Harris
Louise Larabee ... Clara Baum
David Doyle ... Oliver Fisher
Jonathan Goldsmith ... Teddy Manson (as Jonathan Lippe)
Bert Convy ... Archie Leach
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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

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 December 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Primeiro acto See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dore Schary Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although completed in 1963, not released until 1965 as second half of double bill with Dear Heart (1964). 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 I've Got a Secret: Episode dated 23 September 1963 (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Good intentions, limited appeal
2 June 2013 | by gerdeen-1See all my reviews

Playwright Moss Hart delighted readers with his bestselling memoir of his early career. But when producer Dore Schary turned the book into a script after Hart's death, something got lost. This is a bland movie. While people interested in the literary scene of the 1920s will surely enjoy watching it, there's not much to enthrall the average viewer.

George Hamilton plays the young Hart, a talented guy with big dreams and little money. His close-knit Jewish family inspires him to push on with his writing career, but his equally penniless friends can sometimes be more discouraging than supportive.

After many disappointments trying to market his plays, Hart gets a foot in the door when the famed George S. Kaufman agrees to collaborate with him. But Hart soon finds that writing as part of a team can be harder than working alone. Jason Robards Jr., as the maddeningly eccentric Kaufman, is the best part of this movie.

"Act One" is about a man's struggle to come up with a good story to tell, but the story it tells is disappointingly weak. Especially in the early portion, it seems more like a series of anecdotes than a narrative. That may be because the film was adapted from a memoir, but a better writer than Schary might have been able to make it flow better.

Besides Kaufman, there are lots of real historical personages portrayed in the film, such as writers Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott and actor Archie Leach, who would later become film star Cary Grant. But they come and go so fast that the effect is often more like name dropping than characterization. Some of them don't even have any lines. (Bert Convy does have a few lines as Leach, but he speaks them without a trace of a British accent.)

Despite its flaws, this picture will appeal to viewers who are really interested in the people and events depicted. Otherwise it's hard to recommend as entertainment. Though it gets considerably better, more intense, toward the end, I suspect that many people won't stay with it that long.


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