A Double Life
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Playing the role of revered stage actor, Anthony John, Colman gives an intense and riveting performance. When the obsessive Anthony John is called to play the role of Othello, he agrees to do so, and his ex wife and love of his life, Brita Kaurin (Signe Hasse) agrees to play the role of Desdemona. All goes well, and the play is a smashing, long running Broadway success.
Playing the role of Othello for such a protracted period of time, however, begins to wreak havoc with John's sanity, as reality and fantasy collide. Brita is seeing someone else in real life, and John, still in love with her, begins to confuse reality with his role. This spills over into his acting, and his acting spills over into his real life. This double life leads to catastrophic consequences from which there is no turning back. Those cognoscenti viewers familiar with the role of Othello can well imagine where this may lead, given the personal dynamics outlined.
All in all, terrific performances are given by the entire cast. Ronald Colman is magnificent in the part of the conflicted Anthony John, and Signe Hasso does herself proud in the role of John's ex-wife. Look for a young and buxom Shelley Winters in a small, but pivotal, role. The incisive screenplay, written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, makes for a drama that is redolent of the New York theatre. Well directed by George Cukor, this is a film that fans of the velvet voiced Ronald Colman will love, as will all those who enjoy a well acted drama.
Anthony John is a great actor, a toast of Broadway, and a great guy. At least he is now, starring in a wildly popular light comedy. When playing in darker and moodier plays something comes over him. A young woman (who must have met him during an Ibsen play) bumps into him on the street and calls him a `stinker.'
A DOUBLE LIFE is a gutsy and brilliant movie about a man in search of himself and an actor who never learned to "leave it at midnight." To you a 40's expression, and this is very much a 40's movie, John is light and [...]when his character is so. Dark and brooding when cast as a tragic character. Theater friends pressure John to play Shakespeare's Othello. He demurs: "Some plays give me the willys, on stage and off." But the friends are persistent and John is intrigued, and soon enough he is up to his soul in that tragic tale of bloody jealousy.
Laurence Olivier was originally offered the part of the obsessed actor, but he was unavailable. The part, written by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon in their Oscar-nominated screenplay, calls for a good chunk of the final act of Othello to be played out on-screen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Colman's performance was great but story did not adequately explain his second life.Published 1 month ago by L. Costa
The movie has been digitally mastered from the original negative, it is great. The cast is excellent. Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Michalski
I love Ronald Colman, and the writing team is stellar, but this is a hard movie to like. I have to think Colman got the Oscar for his body of work, not this film. Read morePublished 5 months ago by FL reader
This was Ronald Colman's Academy Award performance. Delighted to own it. Shelley Winters was so very young here. It's years before her Academy Award.Published 6 months ago by Carol J.
Powerful idea, with some fine moments and a wonderful script. But the whole thing fails with the casting of Colman as Othello. Come on. Read morePublished 11 months ago by librich
what a fine old film. intriguing story, good writing, good acting. i can see why coleman got the award.Published 15 months ago by T. Jackson
The movie is terrific: beautiful writing, characterization, magnificent acting by Ronald Colman.
I do wish that the DVD had been louder, in order to hear Colman's wonderful... Read more