A Double Life

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This article is about the 1947 American film. For the Czech film, see A Double Life (1924 film).
A Double Life
A Double Life poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by George Cukor
Produced by Michael Kanin
Written by Ruth Gordon
Garson Kanin
Starring Ronald Colman
Signe Hasso
Edmond O'Brien
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Edited by Robert Parrish
Kanin Productions
Distributed by Universal International
Release dates
  • December 25, 1947 (1947-12-25) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.7 million (US rentals)[1]

A Double Life is a 1947 film noir which tells the story of an actor whose mind becomes affected by the character he portrays. The movie starred Ronald Colman and Signe Hasso. It was directed by George Cukor and written for the screen by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin.[2] Ronald Colman won the Academy Award as best actor for his performance in this film.


Celebrated stage actor Anthony John (Ronald Colman) has driven away his actress wife Brita (Signe Hasso) with his erratic temper. However, they star together in the play Othello. Gradually, his portrayal of a jealous murderer undermines his sanity, and he kills his mistress, Pat Kroll (Shelley Winters).



Noir analysis[edit]

Julie Kirgo wrote that A Double Life is truly a picture of opposing forces, mirror images and deadly doubles: "Anthony John is at war with Othello, the elegant world of the theater is opposed to the squalid existence of Shelley Winters' Pat Kroll, and illusion versus reality are all conveyed in opposing lights and darks of Krasner's luminous photography."[3]


Critical response[edit]

When the film was released, New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther lauded the film, writing, "We have it on the very good authority of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, who should know—they being not only actors and playwrights but wife and spouse—that what seems a fairly safe profession, acting, is as dangerous as they come and love between people of the theatre is an adventure fraught with infinite perils. Especially is it risky when an actor takes his work seriously and goes in for playing "Othello." Then handkerchiefs and daggers rule his mind. At least, that is what is demonstrated in a rich, exciting, melodramatic way in the Kanin's own plushy production...George Cukor, in his direction, amply proves that he knows the theatre, its sights and sounds and brittle people."[4]

Critic Jerry Renshaw wrote, "A Double Life is an unusually intelligent, literate noir that is a classy departure from the pulpy "B" atmospherics often associated with the genre. Keep an eye out for Paddy Chayefsky and John Derek in minuscule bit parts."[5]


Academy Awards

Golden Globes


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. ^ "Top Grossers of 1948", Variety 5 January 1949 p 46
  2. ^ A Double Life at the Internet Movie Database.
  3. ^ Silver, Alain, and Elizabeth Ward, eds. Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, film noir analysis by Julie Kirgo, page 95, 3rd edition, 1992. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-479-5.
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, February 20, 1948. Last accessed: March 29, 2008.
  5. ^ Renshaw, John. Austin Chronicle, film review, February 23, 1999. Last accessed: March 29, 2008.
  6. ^ "AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-06. 

External links[edit]