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The Actress (1953)

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Ruth Gordon (screen play), Ruth Gordon (from: her stage play "Years Ago")
Reviews
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 hope and heart-ache in the adventures of a stage-struck daughter!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Debbie Reynolds was MGM 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?
See more »

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

Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: George Cukor (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The Washington Post
(1889) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Music played during the exercise exhibition
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Undiscovered Treasure
4 April 2007 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Set in 1913 New England, seventeen-year-old Ruth Gordon Jones (Jean Simmons) decides on a stage career at about the same time her father decides to send her to the Boston Physical Culture Institute to become a PE teacher. His inspiration is Emma Glavey (Mary Wickes).

Despite its title, "The Actress" (1953) is really Ruth Gordon's loving tribute to her parents; written at a time when she could look back and really appreciate them. It is based on a stage play she wrote and then adapted to the screen. Although primarily known today (because of a couple of cult films) for her acting, Gordon was an excellent writer of both plays and screenplays.

If you are looking for spectacular sets and exciting action adventure, "The Actress" is not the film for you. But if you are looking for some of the best dialogue out there and what is arguably Spencer Tracy's most amusing performance you should make it a point to track this down.

Gordon obviously got her love of performing from her father Clinton (played by Tracy), a one-time sailor with a gift for gab and a desire to pontificate and be the center of attention. The conflict in the story is not so much over her desire to become an actress, but between the tendency of both father and daughter to be overly dramatic. They tend to get on each other's nerves with the mother Annie (Teresa Wright) caught in the middle. Only the mother picks up on how alike father and daughter actually are, the old acorn never falls far from the tree thing.

Much of what Clinton says is too original not to have been invented by the author. My favorite is a lengthy piece about the family's grocery bills during which Clinton complains that Ruth is too lazy to walk to a nearby farm for three pounds of butter. Annie excuses her daughter's inactivity by citing her bad back. A little later when he notices that Annie has been buying expensive tangerines instead of oranges for Ruth's school lunch, he speculates that carrying the lighter tangerine is easier on her back.

Although Wright is a little young for her role, her uncanny resemblance to Gordon (some believed that she was actually Gordon's daughter) made casting her as Gordon's mother a nice inside joke.

This production is extremely funny and has a lot of charm. They go out on a cool shot of the cat on windowsill eating a plant; with the family visible through the window heading off to the railroad station.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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