Academy Awards 1947 -
Best Original Score: Miklos Rozsa
Entertainment Weekly - 03/31/1995
"...Dark, tension-filled....A shadowy backstage tale..." -- Rating: A
George Cukor's perfectly mannered direction confidently guides this brooding and cynical film noir that is considered by many the highlight of actor Ronald Colman's career. A DOUBLE LIFE explores the dangers of blurring the line between reality and illusion in this examination of the schizoid personality of a talented stage actor who begins to confuse his role with his life. Colman gives a magnificent, mesmerizing performance as veteran thespian Anthony John, who begins to mentally derail during a run of OTHELLO. John's courtly manners and reputation have a winning charm that endear him to both audiences and women, including his ex-wife, Brita (Signe Hasso), who acts opposite him in the play, and Pat (Shelley Winters), a young, sexy waitress. However, the charming actor, like his stage character, appears capable of violent behavior. Colman's performance earned him an Academy Award as well as applause from critics and viewers. A DOUBLE LIFE was the first among many successful collaborations between Cukor and the screenwriting team of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin.
In what many at the time of its release considered the role of Ronald Colman's career (for which he won an Oscar) the matinee idol plays a veteran stage actor, who, while playing Othello, falls victim to the actors' malady of mixing roles with reality, a particularly dangerous affliction when playing the jealous Moor opposite one's wife. The film is a sharp, lovingly observed look at the acting life, presented by a team that knows whereof it speaks: the winning collaboration of writers Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon and director George Cukor.