When the daughter of the town's leading citizen and a local dairyman have a romance,and the man makes a sudden-and-unexplained trip out of town, the local gossips, employing the small-town's shared telephone lines, start a malicious gossip campaign discussing the assumed-but-incorrect reason. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Many alleged Christians ignore or don't know the existence of the biblical injunction that to bear false witness is the same as committing murder.
"Party Wire" is a prime example of what can happen to an innocent person when gossipy people gleefully latch on to and help spread an inaccurate story.
"Party Wire" begins with a communications staple that is long out of date, the "party line" telephone. For younger people, this no-longer-extant situation consisted of several parties -- usually homes but possibly businesses -- being on the same line, usually connected through a patch-cord switchboard, and in the earliest days manually connected by a live operator.
When a father slightly in his cups makes a demand on a man who has been courting his daughter, the gossips overhearing are more than happy to spread a distorted report of what the conversation was about.
The misunderstanding sounds as if it could be funny, and in today's very different moral climate wouldn't even matter.
However, several lives are impacted, and the ripple effect almost devastates the entire town.
As someone else here commented, this story is dated, both by technology and by moral standards, but there actually is a good lesson here.
The acting is great, absolutely first class. Walter Brennan, for example, about ten years into his career, has an uncredited role, as do Lafe McKee and Si Jenks.
Victor Jory had a chance to play a hero, and his strength was put to good use.
The effervescent Jean Arthur, of whom Frank Capra said her voice was like a thousand tinkling bells, had an unusual role, not a bubbly, happy one, but she carried it beautifully.
Suspend your disbelief; ignore the script flaws. It's a good story despite some narrative glitches. "Party Wire" is definitely worth watching.
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