Sunday, September 11, 2011
cinema obscura: Dore Schary's "Act One" (1963)
The playwright-director Moss Hart co-wrote both ''You Can't Take It With You'' and ''The Man Who Came to Dinner'' with George S. Kaufman and won his Tony as director for Lerner and Loewe's ''My Fair Lady.''
He also wrote the autobiography, “Act One,” which was filmed for Jack Warner and Warner Bros. by the legendary Dore Schary in 1963.
The little-seen, now-forgotten film, which stars George Hamilton as Hart, dwells on the early part of Hart's career, before he met and married Kitty Carlisle, and boasts an impressive supporting cast – Jason Robards as George S. Kaufman, Jack Klugman as Joe Hyman, Eli Wallach as Warren Stone, Sam Levine as Richard Maxwell, George Segal as Lester Sweyd, Bert Convy as Archie Leach (who would, of course, become Cary Grant) and the great stage actress Ruth Ford as Beatrice Kaufman.
It’s not a particularly good movie, but it does capture the atmospheric New York theater milieu with impressive accuracy – the glittering New York life that Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle represented. Ambience.
You know - when life was all about the opening night on Broadway of “Auntie Mame,” a cocktail party on Beekman Place, a charity soirée at the Museum of Modern Art and a late-night supper at the Stork Club.
"Act One," like the golden era it depicts, was gone until Turner Classic Movies somehow unearthed it; it airs on TCM at 6 p.m. (est) on 13 September. That's your ticket for front row center.