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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 <email@example.com>
Mary Gordon is listed as a cast member in Studio records for this movie, "The Whole Town's Talking (1935)," but she was not seen in the print shown on TCM. See more »
When Jonesy leaves his apartment in a rush he forgets to turn off the taps and his tub is (torrentially) overflowing. But when he returns from the police much later in the day there is no water anywhere. See more »
In 1933 Edward G. Robinson had finally essayed a comedy, THE LITTLE GIANT, with passable results. There he tackled the plot of a former racketeer discovering how unworthy the leaders of "good" society could actually be. The same type of a plot would be used again in Robinson's A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER. But in 1935 Robinson was able to tackle a variant on gangster comedy. It was closer to Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, as he played good guy wimp Arthur "Jonesy" Jones and public enemy # 1 Killer Mannion. Identical twins, they find they are drawn together by a physical chance. Mannion discovers that Jones looks so like him that he might be able to avoid police surveillance by switching places with Jones (who, for safety sake, won't try to stop him). Jones finds his job at jeopardy, his safety at jeopardy, and his girl friend "Bill" (Jean Arthur) possibly at jeopardy.
There are some choice moments in the film - Ed Brophy, as the chief witness against Mannion, wandering away to his doom accompanied by "Jonesy" (or was it "Jonesy"), and the antics of two particularly dull comic cops (James Donlon and - surprisingly bright in the role - Arthur Hohl). Robinson as patsy and fiend is equally effective, particularly as Mannion decides the time has come to get rid of his harmless doppelganger and take over his place in the world. But will he succeed...or will "Jonesy's" ineptitude and timidity upset his plans.
The director of the film was John Ford - it was his first film with either Robinson (who only showed up again in a supporting part in CHEYENNE AUTUMN)and his only one with Arthur. As such it reminds us of his film ARROWSMITH, which was his only film with Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes. In both cases he did well with his stars, and one wishes he had tried a second major film with Robinson, Arthur, Colman, and Hayes later on. But at least he did make these two films.
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