Carnie owner Buck Rankin marries local girl Helen and plans to go straight, but after a brawl ends up with a twenty-year sentence for manslaughter. When a pregnant Helen vows to wait for ... See full summary »
Joel McCrea plays a hotshot reporter who thinks he knows everything and Jean Arthur plays an actress who puts one over on him. It turns out the financier of her play is a notorious art ... See full summary »
Three working girls in Budapest pool their resources to get a better apartment and impress their dates. One dates a nobleman and, learning of her rejection by him, considers poison. Another... See full summary »
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>
Fantastic Comedy on The Dark Side of Small Town America
Most 1930's and 1940's films portray small town America as some kind of Heaven on earth where your neighbor will give you their last dime and everybody loves everybody and are all model citizens. PARTY WIRE, an overlooked gem from 1935, blows that illusion to smitterheens and may be closer to the truth. Small towns can breed small minds and the horrors of gossips who tell tales they don't really care if they are true or not is vividly brought to life is this amazing comedy drama.
Victor Jory stars as the scion of the small town's wealthiest family who returns to town for an extended stay. His return is big news for the locals, many of whom have daughters they would like to see Jory marry. When Jory begins to squire local farm girl Jean Arthur, the inner green-eyed monster flares in the local old prudes and when via habit of listening in on phone calls on the town's party line they overhear Arthur's father make an angry phone call to a local boy they are all abuzz, concluding the guy has knocked up Jean.
This starts a tidal wave of gossip and venom as poor Jean gets fired from her job and is completely snubbed by the town folk, who stick a baby carriage with a nasty note on her doorstep and disqualify her from winning a local event for no reason. When Jory learns of their maliciousness, he vows to make the town pay for their viciousness and financially ruin them all.
The cast of this film is outstanding. Jean Arthur at the very beginning of the major era of her career is wonderful as the unpretentious sweetie who has what it takes to charm the most wanted man in town. Victor Jory has one of his rare leading man roles - he was most often cast as a villain, notably in GONE WITH THE WIND - but he is excellent and thoroughly credible both as the man everyone admires and the hero out for vengeance. The supporting cast is superb - Charley Grapewin as Jean's slightly absent-minded father, Maude Eburne as one of the biggest gossips in town but most especially Clara Blandick as the queen bee of this hick town who conjures all the trouble. Miss Blandick is best remembered for her loving Auntie Em in THE WIZARD OF OZ but she had no peers when it came to portraying the small town bitch matron - she plowed similar territory as Janet Gaynor's sneering aunt in A STAR IS BORN.
This is a fine looking Columbia film that belies it's modest budget. PARTY WIRE is possibly the best of Jean Arthur's early starring films and is highly recommended.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?