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Tag Archives: Ronald Colman

Flick Clique: September 9-15

A Double Life (1947). Strangely enough, the only film we watched all the way through this past week was this George Cukor drama with Ronald Colman as a stage actor whose creeping madness prompts him to murder a trusting waitress (played by a young Shelley Winters). Since the film is being reissued by Olive Films, this was a DVD Talk review. I went on a Cukor kick in the ’90s after reading Patrick McGilligan’s biography (which is named after this film), yet even then I never caught this particular one. I thought it was a moderately good drama, well-scripted by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon with an knowingness about what really goes on with theater folk. Cukor’s direction is notable as well, with some scenes taking on an impressionistic, dreamlike quality as Colman descends further into the abyss. The thing that tips Colman’s Anthony John over the edge is playing the lead in Shakespeare’s Othello, which is dramatized by a long (too long, actually) montage which emphasizes both the repetition of stage acting and the audience’s slavish devotion to their favorite performers. It’s an interesting, demanding role and Colman plays it decently, but not spectacularly (I can see why his Best Actor Oscar win is one of the more contested ones). I was more impressed with Signe Hasso, who plays Colman’s ex-wife and fellow stage actor. After Colman offs Winters, the film becomes a more pedestrian investigative tale in which Colman’s publicity manager (played by Edmond O’Brien) pieces together bits of information which point to Colman as the culprit. If anything, this film demonstrates the pain and horror of swanky parties:

DVD Talk reviews:
Man-Trap (1961) – Recommended