Cast & Crew
Edward G. Robinson
Actor's Blood : The police enter the bedroom of Broadway actress Marcia Tillayou to find her father, has-been actor Maurice, dramatically bemoaning her shooting death. Her ex-husband, Alfred O'Shea, then thinks back to the opening night of her first hit play: Fans and critics crowd backstage to congratulate Marcia, Broadway's newest darling. She, however, looks only for Alfie, the writer of the play and her fiancé. As they embrace, Maurice, who has not seen his daughter for years, enters and declares her a genius who will achieve the heights of fame of which he could only dream. Over the next three years, Maurice travels with Marcia, ignoring her increasing impetuousness. Alfie grows despondent as his plays fail and rumors run rampant about his wife's infidelities. Even Marcia's staunchest supporter, theater critic Otto Lachsley, calls her an "ingrate" after she insults him publicly. At the start of her next play, gossip columns report her affair with producer Frederick Herbert. One night, a drunken Alfie comes backstage to inform Marcia that he is leaving her, and moments later, Herbert's wife enters the dressing room with a gun. Maurice grabs the gun and Mrs. Herbert bursts into tears, which are exacerbated by Marcia's harsh and haughty attitude. When everyone leaves the room, however, Marcia also breaks down and cries. The play flops and soon Marcia begins to drink too much, and even though Maurice massages her ego, she grows harder as her plays continue to fail. She then begins an affair with lawyer George Murry, but he leaves her after she threatens to blackmail his wife. Herbert hires Marcia for a play that opens in Connecticut, but Maurice soon hears a rumor that she will be fired before the Broadway opening. He confronts Herbert, who tells him that audiences will no longer tolerate her tantrums and drunken performances. Back in the present, Maurice visits assistant district attorney Thomas Hayne, who is investigating Marcia's death, and tells him he will name her killer at a dinner party the following evening. The party is attended by Alfie, Lachsley and all of Marcia's ex-boyfriends and their wives. Finally, Maurice leads his guests to dinner, where he has left a seat open for Marcia. He is about to point out the murderer when the lights go out, and by the time they come on again, Maurice is dead, a cross stabbed into his chest. Hayne is about to arrest everyone in the room when Alfie discovers a broken wire under Maurice's foot and realizes that the frustrated thespian has staged the whole evening and killed himself. Alfie then reveals a suicide note sent to him by Marcia on the night of her death, and deduces that Maurice, unable to allow his daughter to die a failure's death, discovered her body and shot it a second time to make it appear to be a murder. As Lachsley comments that they all killed Marcia with their coldness, Hayne proclaims the case closed.
Woman of Sin : In Hollywood in the late 1930s, renowned agent Orlando Higgens strolls into his office and wearily ignores messages from famous Hollywood producers, directors and actors. When author Daisy Marcher phones, he accepts the call, but only to tell the insistent writer that he will never represent her. Orlando then learns that his reader, who hated Daisy's script, A Woman of Sin , sent it to prestigious producer J. B. Cobb by mistake. Immediately after, Orlando receives a call from Cobb declaring the script a work of genius, and he sends his secretary and girl friend, Miss Hannigan, in search of Daisy. Over the next few days, although Hannigan fails to locate the writer, Orlando deftly continues to raise Daisy's asking price to astronomical levels. Just as the agent begins to wonder if Daisy exists, Hannigan announces her arrival at his office. When she walks in, he is dismayed to see a nine-year-old child. The precocious girl spins wild tales of her supposedly dead parents and Indian grandmother, but Orlando picks her up and insists she direct him to her home. There, her mild mother accepts a contract which stipulates that Daisy, whose real name is Millicent Egelhofer, must stay with Orlando and never reveal her youthful identity. A Woman of Sin begins filming with great fanfare, with Cobb pouring money and talent into the production, convinced that the film will surpass Gone With the Wind in greatness. Meanwhile, Daisy holes up in Orlando's back office, working furiously on a new screenplay entitled Sea of Blood . She hires pirate expert Capt. Moriarity to help her research, who turns out to be a small boy. Weeks later, Cobb's epic picture has finished filming and looks like a sure Academy Award winner. Orlando relaxes, secure in his secret, until Cobb calls in a rage. Daisy has secretly sent him Sea of Blood and he is certain that an imposter, trying to ruin Daisy's reputation, has passed him the tasteless script, which ends with two thousand townspeople being killed in a mass hanging. A furious Orlando is chasing Daisy around his office when Cobb bursts in and demands to know what is going on. Forced to reveal Daisy's true identity, Orlando quickly capitalizes on the situation by offering their continued silence in exchange for a five-picture deal for Daisy. Cobb agrees, and on Oscar night, Daisy accompanies the production team disguised as Orlando's infant child.
Edward G. Robinson
Victor V. Jones
Benjamin B. Smith
The working titles of this film were Duet and Actor's Blood. The picture consists of two sections, entitled Actor's Blood and Woman of Sin, each based on a screen story written by Ben Hecht. Although the reviews refer to the film as Actors Blood, the onscreen title card reads: Ben Hecht's ACTOR'S blood AND woman of SIN. Hecht's onscreen credit reads: "Written, Produced and Directed by Ben Hecht." Lee Garmes' onscreen credit reads: "Co-Director Lee Garmes, and Director of Photography." The opening cast credits list Edward G. Robinson, Eddie Albert and Marsha Hunt above the title, with full cast lists preceding each section of the film as shown above.
The Actor's Blood section begins with a voice-over narration by Dan O'Herlihy as "Alfred O'Shea," describing "a tale that could happen only in the city of New York, and only amongst people of the theater." The Woman of Sin section starts with a voice-over narration by Hecht that describes the "mad" days of Hollywood's past in which the irresponsible, shyster agents reigned supreme. Hecht's daughter Jenny starred as "Daisy Marchand." Specific Los Angeles locations, such as Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Brown Derby, are shown, and real-life Hollywood moguls such as David O. Selznick are mentioned.
According to a July 1952 Los Angeles Mirror article, the Beverly Canon theater in Beverly Hills booked Actor's and Sin after the film received rave reviews in New York. After viewing the print, however, the exhibitors feared that Los Angeles audiences would be offended by the picture's ridiculing of Hollywood, and cancelled the engagement. Hecht then filed a suit requesting $250,000 in damages or an injunction to compel the Canon to show his film. The Los Angeles Mirror article further states that United Artists and Sid Kuller filed a similar suit. Later in Jul, Variety reported that Hecht conducted a radio interview in which he blasted the Canon and Hollywood for their inability to make fun of themselves. Even though the Canon then opted to run the film in late Jul, an August Variety item stated that Kuller was angry with Hecht for "scaring away business." Although the Hollywood Reporter review lists the running time as 94 minutes, this time was probably a misprint. Although a Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Kit Guard was to have a key role in the film, Guard's appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.