A Double Life

Synopsis: Anthony John is an actor whose life is strongly influenced by the characters he plays. When he's playing comedy, he's the most enjoyable person in the world, but when he's playing drama, it's terrible to be around him. That's the reason why his wife Brita divorced him; although she still loves him and works with him, she couldn't stand living with him anymore. So when Anthony accepts to play Othello, he devotes himself entirely to the part, but it soon overwhelms him and with each day his mind gets filled more and more with Othello's murderous jealousy.
Director(s): George Cukor
Production: Universal Studios Home Video
  Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

He looks just like he did

in the other play.


Isn't he gorgeous?


Hiya, fellas.

Looking sharp, boy.

Looking sharp.

New hat.

Oh, fine.

Who done it for you,

Lily Dache?

I done it myself.

What a great guy.

You can say that again,


The meeting will come to order.

Hello, Barry.

How are you,

Mr. John?

Dirty heel.

Everybody says.

He's a good actor.

Yeah, but he's no good.


Oh, hello, Ellen.


I haven't seen you

since, um...

Sands point.

Yes, that's right.

I lost your number.

I knew it was that.

What are you geniuses up to?

We're in the Freedley musical.

How does it look?


Well, good luck.

Thanks. Good-bye.

I'll be seeing you.

Good-bye, Tony.

What a darling.




Hello, mr. John.

Hello, Anna.

Hello, Max.

Enter Anthony John -

tall, handsome, charming.

Shakes hands with his

dearest friend and mentor

and sits.

How did it go last night?

Fine, fine.

"A riot. A veritable funfest."

This play agrees with you.

Ah, good old Anna -

never forgets.

If it were possible,

I'd have you only in

comedy always, so help me.

Well, why isn't it?

Every morning after I get up,

I read a play,

every night before I go to bed,

and out of the lot,

if one turns up

that can be produced

and that's got a part

for you, I'm lucky.

Listen. Do me a favor.

Don't forget one thing -

you're an actor.

You don't say.

A great actor.

I bow.

You got a responsibility.

You can't stop. You

can't limit yourself.

All right.

Don't get so excited.


I'm an excitable fellow.

Come on.

Let's have it.

What is all this?


Oh! Ho ho! No!

I was looking over

that old Othello

scheme of yours.

You don't know

how good that is.

Yes, we did have some

good notions, all right.


Do you remember that thing

you figured out

for the ending?


Where you strangle

Desdemona with a kiss?

Yes. Oh, it sounds

ridiculous now.

You're wrong.

It's brilliant,

and it's believable,

isn't it, Victor?

Isn't what?

Isn't it brilliant?

Also believable.

The Othello thing.

How are you, Tony?

Blooming -

blooming in spite of Max.

He's been giving me

a scream-by-scream description

of my own idea.

Want to do it, Tony?

Do you want to direct it?

I asked you first.

I don't know.

I don't know. I?

I know some parts

give me the willies,

on the stage and off.

Where's your ambition?

All used up, Max.

Well, almost all used up.

Well, I've come

a long way with it.

Remember when I was

that handsome juvenile

dashing on with white flannels

and a tennis racket?

"I say, tennis anyone?

Right-o. Let's have

another go at it."

Yes, and before that,

the chorus of the student prince.

I tell you, I was

a happy hambone then.

Vocabulary of 7 words.

Funny, I remember

my father even then,

coming backstage for a touch.

And telling me

to get the best of it.

"Get the best of it, boy-boy.

never made it, see,

but you can do it, kid.

You can do it

For the two of us."

So I'd slip him a fin,

and he'd mosey off.

I never listened to him.

I never listened

to anyone but Brita.

That's when I got

ambition, my boy?

When I married Brita.

That's when I wanted

to be something better

than I was,

to be an actor, a real actor.

I had to teach myself

to talk, do you know it?

And move and think.

I had to tear myself apart

and put myself together

again and again.

The leftover pieces

are all scattered

somewhere between here

and a thousand one-night stands.

Oh, sure, I lost plenty?

Fun and rest and friends

and privacy,

and in that cockeyed way

things have of working out,

it's even cost me Brita.

Would you like to hear

the story of my life?

He was a good actor,

your old man.

Oh, thank you, Max,

but you and I both know

he died a doorman.

Look, I wish you'd drop in

and see the show tonight.

It's all right,

but it's not bouncing along

the way it used to.

Who's letting down?

All of us except Brita,

of course.

Of course.

She's always wonderful.

There's something

interests me, Tony,

because it's none

of my business.

You and Brita,

you've been divorced now,

how long is it, 2 years?

And 4 months.

All right.

And you're both

still in love, aren't you?


Why don't we marry again?


We love each other

too much for that.

I see.

See you later, friends.

Now, what about

The Othello thing?

Uh, look,

don't count on me

too much for this, Max.

I've got a feeling it

isn't the sort of thing

I ought to do,

great or no.

Think it over.

We'll talk about it later.

All right.

We ought to think

about it, too.


A sensation.

For someone

who's been exposed to it

as much as you have,

it's a wonder you don't

know more about acting.

What is there to know?

It's a talent.

Some got it, some ain't.

No, no.

When you do it

like Tony does,

it's much more.

The way he has

of becoming someone else

every night,

for just a few hours,

so completely...

No, don't tell me

that his whole system

isn't affected by it.

I swear I never

saw such a thing.

Here I bring up

a great proposition,

and everybody's as gloomy

as closing in New Haven.

I don't like trouble.

We'll see.

Yeah, all right.

We'll see.

Hello, Bill.


Victor here?


Right over there.

I just got the proofs

of Brita's new pictures

for the sunday edition.

Fine. Wait till you hear

the next publicity campaign

Rate this script:4.0 / 2 votes

Ruth Gordon

Ruth Gordon Jones (October 30, 1896 – August 28, 1985) was an American film, stage, and television actress, as well as a screenwriter and playwright. Gordon began her career performing on Broadway at age nineteen. Known for her nasal voice and distinctive personality, she gained international recognition and critical acclaim for film roles that continued into her seventies and eighties. Her later work included performances in Rosemary's Baby (1968), Harold and Maude (1971), and the Clint Eastwood films Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980).In addition to her acting career, Gordon wrote numerous plays, film scripts, and books, most notably co-writing the screenplay for the 1949 film Adam's Rib. Gordon won an Academy Award, an Emmy, and two Golden Globe Awards for her acting, as well as receiving three Academy Award nominations for her writing. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "A Double Life" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 2 Mar. 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/a_double_life_7171>.

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