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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Actress (1953)



Reviews and Comments

Spencer Tracy in a bad movie? Alas. Tracy's performance is the best part of this melodrama about a girl who wants to become an actress, but is afraid to tell her father, whom she fears will disapprove. The story is adapted from a stage play; the heritage is clearly evident. Most of the movie takes place in the family's house. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but something is lacking in the direction -- something that makes this film seem claustrophobic and wooden. Again, Tracy's performance is the only element of the picture that's alive -- although young Jean Simmons' performance holds up well too.

It's hard to know exactly what went wrong. The drama follows a familiar, time-tested formula; it's about characters with passions and yearnings and fundamental conflicts. This is what movies are supposed to be all about. But the end product, for whatever reason, is strangely uninvolving. When the credits rolled, my reaction was simply, "Huh."