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The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940)

Passed | | Drama | 16 July 1940 (USA)
Assistant District Attorney Stephen Forbes, an impressive orator with a long list of convictions, resigns when an innocent boy is convicted and the real murderer confesses too late. He ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Celia Farrady
J.B. Roscoe
John L. Forbes
Slug 'Canvasback' McNutt
District Attorney Dickson
Tony Spirella
Joe Garland
Gerald Wilson
E.A. Smith
Lefty Kyler
Edwin Stanley ...
District Attorney Nelson (as Ed Stanley)
Mrs. Knight (scenes deleted)


Assistant District Attorney Stephen Forbes, an impressive orator with a long list of convictions, resigns when an innocent boy is convicted and the real murderer confesses too late. He opens a cheap law office and his secretary Joan Reed goes with him. Business is bad until he ties up with J.B. Roscoe, the contact man between city hall and the underworld. Forbes moves to a swanky office and adds two people to his staff - his younger brother John, who he helped through law school, and Celia Farraday. Celia helps John win his first case and the two fall in love. John realizes his brother's firm isn't honest and wants to break the underworld contact. He opens Steve's safe for federal authorities hunting evidence against Roscoe. But the latter plants enough circumstantial evidence against John that the latter is convicted of murder and sent to death row. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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HARD-TO-GET-MEN...AND EASY-TO-LOVE-WOMEN! (original print ad-all caps) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 July 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway Lawyer  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names, if any): Frank Bruno (Griswold), Glen Cavender (Prisoner), Alan Davis (Whitey), Eddie Foster (Weinstein), George Kirby, (Roscoe's butler), Vera Lewis, George Reeves (Hotel clerk), Jack Richardson (Prisoner) and Cliff Saum (Prisoner). Susan Peters is also supposed to be in this film, but she was not seen either. See more »


Version of Illegal (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Permanent Retainer
19 March 2013 | by See all my reviews

The Man Who Talked Too Much is the second of three versions that Warner Brothers did of the same film. I've not seen The Mouthpiecewhich was the prototype, but the film Illegal which starred Edward G. Robinson that came out in 1955 was far superior to this one. Possibly audiences were more sophisticated then and wouldn't buy what was being sold in this film.

George Brent plays our protagonist and he's a hard driving Assistant District Attorney who mistakenly convicts an innocent man and the real culprit does not confess until it is too late. Feeling a lot of remorse he leaves the DA's office and goes into private practice with faithful secretary Virginia Bruce. But he's not getting any good paying clients until he gets off Henry Armetta for assaulting one of Richard Barthelmess's hoods. Impressed with his work Barthelmess puts Brent on permanent retainer.

With that a change comes over Brent that his idealistic younger brother William Lundigan doesn't like. After that Lundigan who is a newly minted attorney himself does something that in real life would get him disbarred.

What it is I won't reveal, but instead of disbarment he gets framed for murder and it's up to Brent to save him by whatever means necessary.

What Lundigan does in fact is what turned me off to this film which is a sincere effort by the cast and director. Lundigan's legal dilemma as shown in the film has been dealt with before on the big screen and small. In fact Tom Cruise in The Firm had the same situation and he handled much better than Lundigan.

Check Robinson's film also it's far better done.

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