Henry and Clarice Wilkins have been married twenty-three years and are a model suburban couple who have never had a quarrel. But when their daughter,Peggy, and her husband, Bill Trask, have... See full summary »
Henry and Clarice Wilkins have been married twenty-three years and are a model suburban couple who have never had a quarrel. But when their daughter,Peggy, and her husband, Bill Trask, have a squabble, Clarice has a plan to show the daughter just how distasteful domestic bickering appears; She enters into an agreement with Henry that they will fake a fuss to serve as an object lesson. Clarice's will to play the game and her sense of humor play out at about the same time when Henry's remarks become more pointed as the charade goes on. Their fake fight is soon a real barn-burner. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Charles Ruggles was an extremely annoying comedian, rather like Clifton Webb without the bitchiness. Yet he was hugely popular in the 1930s. Ruggles tended to play henpecked little fusspots. One reason I find him annoying is that there are several movies -- 'Roadhouse Nights' and 'Murder in the Zoo' are good examples -- that could have been excellent if Ruggles wasn't in them: as they are, their scripts and direction have been radically twisted out of shape in order to make room for Ruggles's annoying comedy business. In 'If I Had a Million', I deeply resent that Ruggles and Mary Boland are given more screen time than WC Fields, Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper and other much more interesting performers.
I find Mary Boland annoying too. She tended to play marcelled harridans, more like a drag queen than an actual woman. But I admire Boland's professionalism as an actress, whereas Ruggles is merely annoying. The two of them were often teamed on screen as a married couple, with Boland invariably bullying Ruggles. The team of Ruggles and Boland are even more annoying than either of them solo.
'People Will Talk' at least varies the formula slightly, but only just. Ruggles and Boland are a well-to-do couple whose adult daughter Peggy (vivacious Leila Hyams) is about to celebrate the first anniversary of her marriage to Bill Trask (Dean Jagger, doing an imitation of a block of wood). But Peggy quarrels with her husband because he was mildly attentive to a married woman. Boland decides to show her daughter how petty quarrelling is, so she urges meek husband Ruggles to stage a quarrel with her. He's reluctant until she bullies him into it ... and then Ruggles quarrels with her so successfully that they have a genuine falling-out and their marriage is on the rocks.
Liberated at last, the long-henpecked Ruggles gets into a drunken flirtation with married neighbour Doris. Then he ends up at a wrestling match, populated by knuckleheads with great movie names like Strangler, Spider and Prettyboy.
This movie starts out slightly above average for the Ruggles-Boland teamings, largely because they have an adult child for once, and so the situations are different this time. Also, the worm (Ruggles) turns much earlier than usual for this formula. Unfortunately, this movie gets less funny with each successive reel. I'll rate 'People Will Talk' only 3 out of 10.
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