Double Life, A (1947)

A Double Life (1947), directed by George Cukor.

A charming but self-absorbed actor loses himself in a long-running stage version of Othello. He's cracking up and we fear, from the very first performance, that he is really going to strangle Desdemona on stage.

The plot takes a turn after a different murder: the cynical cops and reporters bring in a more familiar and semi-comic noir tone. The parallel between the stage play and the actor's life is there, but not hammered.

A nice showcase for Ronald Colman, one of the great voices of the 20th century. An on-stage/off-stage story allows the actor to display various degrees of haminess.

First prominent role for Shelley Winters, age 27. She specialized in playing women who were not particularly bad, just available. Also with Edmond O'Brien, a reliable favorite from the period.

Co-written by Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude (1971)); I forget that she was a writer as well as an actress.

Miklós Rózsa score, always making good films better. Shot on location in NYC, unusual for this type of picture.

Nominated for four Academy Awards and won Best Actor and Music.

Olive Films Blu-ray with an intro by Martin Scorsese. Restored by UCLA. The high def detail is often quite good, although the black levels are just fair by modern standards.