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A Double Life

Released Dec 25, 1947 1h 44m Crime Drama List
78% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 65% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Highly regarded theater actor Anthony John (Ronald Colman) has a violent temper, which leads his actress wife, Brita (Signe Hasso), to leave him. When the two perform together in a production of "Othello," the strain of playing Othello drives John insane, to the point of killing his mistress, Pat Kroll (Shelley Winters). John does not remember the incident, but is forced to face his actions when promoter Bill Friend (Edmond O'Brien) uses the murder to publicize the play. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (9) Critics Reviews
Dilys Powell Sunday Times (UK) Though it will not, I fancy, change the course of cinema history it turns out to be intelligently constructed and executed. Aug 17, 2022 Full Review Allen Almachar The MacGuffin A well-made film about one man's descent in to madness. Aug 11, 2020 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid It was the role of a lifetime, for any actor, but Colman got it, and he nailed it. He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe, and he deserved them. Sep 26, 2012 Full Review Pablo Villaça Cinema em Cena Colman faz um belo trabalho como o perturbado ator que falha em separar realidade da fico, mas Cukor e seus roteiristas se perde nos aspectos da produo que devem ao noir, tornando-a frgil e artificial. Rated: 2/5 Feb 19, 2009 Full Review Michael E. Grost Classic Film and Television Subtle, well-directed drama. Aug 8, 2008 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Ronald Colman won a Best Actor Oscar for his ornate and hammy performance as an obsessed matinee-idol stage actor cracking up before our eyes. Rated: B Feb 2, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (33) audience reviews
jordan m I would be doing a disservice to this movie to review it extremely poorly as it was my own fault that I didn't enjoy it very much. I didn't bother to watch Othello as a play or at least as a more direct film adaptation prior to watching this, where the plot of the play is sort of twisted to make a narrative more interesting to those who had prior knowledge of what the play was about. Out of all of Shakespeare's works I had the least knowledge about Othello, and thus I didn't have much to go off of when viewing this. That said, the fault is not entirely mine as they do make an effort to bring the audience up to speed, noting that the primary emotion is intense jealousy and all that. I can certainly see how this won Colman an Oscar as I've scarcely seen a movie that more aptly fits the definition of a star vehicle. The overwhelming majority of lines in the movie are his, including the narration, and he goes through the entire thing chewing scenery & trodding over the other characters, as he's intended to do. The film score was well done but I thought it was used far too subtly - Jerry Goldsmith is my favorite composer and his scores are sometimes loud and borderline invasive, while this one is the absolute opposite. It deserves the recognition it receives, but it's not for me personally. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review william d Colman deserved his Oscar, but the story is a bit of a snoozer. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review steve d Ronald Colman fantastic performance draws you in. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member The best movie score ever composed! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review andy f A far from routine thriller, this great noir mixes Shakespeare's Othello with intrigue and romance. Colman is fantastic as is Signe Hasso. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Anyone with an interest in acting or theater should see this movie. It's very intriguing. The plot of the film is about an actor who gets so involved with a role (in this case, Othello), that he loses his grip on reality. This movie came out a few years before Brando and method acting made a big splash in movies, but it's easy to see how an actor could lose themselves in such a role. Daniel Day-Lewis, for one, is famous for his level of investment, and given the characters he's played, we should be grateful he hasn't snapped yet. The actor in question is played by Ronald Colman, a bit of a shame his Oscar win for this film isn't brought up too much, because it's one of the most well deserved wins in the category. Colman is spot on, making his transition feel natural and realistic, something the characters in the film stress when they discuss Desdemona's death scene. It really is a fascinating performance by Colman. The rest of the movie, while adequate, isn't firing on the same cylinders Colman is. Most of the newspaper men and policeman come off as bad stereotypes, but thankfully they're not around all that much. No, this is the Ronald Colman show and he doesn't knock it out of the park, he knocks it into the next state. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Read all reviews
A Double Life

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Highly regarded theater actor Anthony John (Ronald Colman) has a violent temper, which leads his actress wife, Brita (Signe Hasso), to leave him. When the two perform together in a production of "Othello," the strain of playing Othello drives John insane, to the point of killing his mistress, Pat Kroll (Shelley Winters). John does not remember the incident, but is forced to face his actions when promoter Bill Friend (Edmond O'Brien) uses the murder to publicize the play.
Director
George Cukor
Producer
Michael Kanin
Screenwriter
Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin, William Shakespeare
Distributor
Universal International Pictures
Production Co
Universal International Pictures
Genre
Crime, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Dec 25, 1947, Original
Release Date (DVD)
Jul 22, 2003
Runtime
1h 44m
Sound Mix
Mono