Act One (film)

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Act One
Directed by Dore Schary
Produced by Dore Schary
Written by Dore Schary (screenplay)
Moss Hart (book)
Starring George Hamilton
Jason Robards
George Segal
Jack Klugman
Cinematography Arthur J. Ornitz
Edited by Mort Fallick
Dore Schary Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
December 26, 1963 (US)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Act One is a 1963 American film starring George Hamilton,[1] directed and screenwritten by Dore Schary. It is the film version of the autobiographical book Act One by playwright Moss Hart.

George Hamilton later complained that "Schary de-ethnicized the entire production and took out the brilliance for good measure".[2]


In 1929 young Brooklynite Moss Hart, influenced by the great playwrights, devotes his leisure time to writing for the theater. Failing in his aspirations, however, he accepts a job as social director in the Catskills and then stages plays at the YMHA in Newark. Eventually he takes the advice of agent Richard Maxwell and writes a comedy, Once in a Lifetime, which deals with the early days of Hollywood films, despite the fact that his knowledge of the movie industry is derived from the pages of Variety. After being subsidized by a friend, Joe Hyman, he sends the manuscript to producer Warren Stone, who promises a decision within a week. When months pass without any word, Hart's friends sneak a copy of the play to Sam Harris, who agrees to produce it if George Kaufman will collaborate on the script and also direct. Although Kaufman consents, the Atlantic City opening is a failure, and he considers quitting until Hart comes up with an idea that both men feel will turn the play into a hit. It finally opens to rave reviews in New York City in September 1930, thus beginning the long-lasting Kaufman-Hart collaboration.


Production background[edit]

  • Anthony Perkins and Dean Jones were early contenders for role of Moss Hart.
  • George Hamilton was socially friendly with the family of Moss Hart.[2]


To promote the upcoming release of Act One, George Hamilton appeared on a September 1963 episode of I've Got a Secret, a prime-time game show in which a panel of celebrities attempted to discover the guest's "secret." Hamilton's secret? The actor identified as Hamilton and grilled by the panel (who failed to guess his secret) was that he was not actually Hamilton at all but instead a dark-haired handsome sort-of-look-alike pretending to be Hamilton. The real Hamilton showed up at the end of the spot and earned the admiration of panelist Henry Morgan who expressed astonishment that any performer of Hamilton's stature was secure enough to take part in a stunt which, in essence, pointed up the fact that he was unrecognizable to a quartet of supposedly in-the-know celebrities.


  1. ^ James Wolcott (November 2012). "The Man Who Came to Broadway". Vanity Fair. 
  2. ^ a b George Hamilton & William Stadiem, Don't Mind If I Do, Simon & Schuster 2008 p 183

External links[edit]