In 1913, seventeen-year-old Ruth Gordon Jones watches breathlessly from the balcony of a Boston theater as stage star Hazel Dawn performs in a lavish musical number. That night, at her family's modest apartment in Wollaston, Ruth listens as her gruff father Clinton, from whom she has kept her own theatrical aspirations a secret, complains to her mother Annie about their financial difficulties. Ruth is thrilled when she receives an autographed photograph of Hazel, and tells her boyfriend, Harvard student Fred Whitmarsh, that she intends to become a successful actress. Meanwhile, Clinton, a former sailor who now works in a factory, informs his wife that he has decided Ruth should attend the Boston Physical Culture Institute and train for a career as a physical education teacher.
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|Spencer Tracy||Clinton Jones|
|Jean Simmons||Ruth Gordon Jones|
|Teresa Wright||Annie Jones|
|Anthony Perkins||Fred Whitmarsh|
|Ian Wolfe||Mr. Bagley|
|Kay Williams||Hazel Dawn|
|Mary Wickes||Emma Glavey|
|Norma Jean Nilsson||Anna|
|Erville Alderson||Mike McGrath|