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Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
Ordinary man-in-the-street Arthur Ferguson Jones leads a very straightforward life. He's never late for work and nothing interesting ever happens to him. One day everything changes: he oversleeps and is fired as an example, he's then mistaken for evil criminal killer Mannion and is arrested. The resemblance is so striking that the police give him a special pass to avoid a similar mistake. The real Mannion sees the opportunity to steal the pass and move around freely and chaos results. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw this movie a long time ago as a teenager during a Edward G. Robinson retrospective. It was the one that stuck in my mind, and I never forgot it. Now I have it on videotape and watch it regularly, it stands multiple viewing very well.
The Whole Town's Talking is one of those perfect little movies. Everything falls into place the acting, the pace, the timing of the jokes, the dialog. Even the set design is fabulous, it was basically the big, bright office space in which the good guy Robinson plays slaves" that was unforgettable to me. The movie boasts an assortment of caricature like characters like no other movie I know, beside Robinson I would like to mention Jean Arthur, of course, and the two funny little guys, Donald Meek and, even more memorable, Etienne Girardot as the pedantic office overseer who urges Robinson to get on with the Macintyre account.
In its social comment The Whole Town's Talking reminds me of the work of Preston Sturgess. Mentionable are the media hype about a famous gangster which is really over the top (it's up there with His Girl Friday in this aspect) and the incompetence of the police force which is unable to deal with the gangster and even less with the media and is presented as a helpless and clueless organization. So the movie still has some actuality.
Movie buffs who look at John Ford as an auteur" may be disappointed. The Whole Town's Talking is very much a product of the studio system. But it amply shows what great things that system was able to accomplish at times!
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