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Our Town (1940)

 -  Drama  -  24 May 1940 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,406 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 12 critic

Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks... See full summary »

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Title: Our Town (1940)

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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Fay Bainter ...
...
...
Guy Kibbee ...
...
Frank Craven ...
Doro Merande ...
Philip Wood ...
Ruth Tobey ...
Rebecca Gibbs (as Ruth Toby)
Douglas Gardner ...
Arthur B. Allen ...
Professor Willard (as Arthur Allen)
Charles Trowbridge ...
Dr. Ferguson
Spencer Charters ...
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Storyline

Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks their front doors. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

I never felt so alone in my life. Why can't I stay for a while just as I am? I don't want to get married. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unsere kleine Stadt  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Hypercube restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for the play the film is based on. The score for the film is by another Pulitzer Prize winner: Aaron Copland. See more »

Goofs

The beginning of the movie takes place on June 7, 1901. That night everyone comments on how beautiful the moon is and we later learn it is 8:30pm. The moon did not rise until midnight on that date. In fact the sun did not set until 8:30pm. Additionally, crickets can be heard loudly chirping throughout these scenes. This would be very unusual for early June, but common in late August. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Julia Hersey Gibbs: It seems to me, once in your life, before you die, you ought to see a country where they don't speak any English and they don't even want to.
See more »

Connections

Version of Great Performances: Our Town (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?
(1868)
Music "Stephanos" by Henry W. Baker (1868)
Greek words by Stephen of Mar Saba (Judea) (8th century)
Translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale (1862)
Played on an organ in church by Philip Wood and sung by the choir
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
I liked it
23 February 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've never read the play or seen it performed. All I knew is that it won a Pulitzer Prize and was constantly being done by community theatres. Also there are at least FOUR made for TV versions (this is the only theatrical one). I figured it was time I finally saw it.

From what I can gather, this is a heavily edited version (the TV versions run from 2 to 3 hours) and I KNOW the ending was changed (because of the Production Code). Still I liked it for what it was. Also I saw a recently restored version so it looks pretty good (considering it's over 60 years old).

It's just about life in a small New Hampshire town from 1901 to 1940. It concerns various characters but mostly centers on Emily Webb (Martha Scott) falling in love with George Gibbs (William Holden). It also flawlessly recreates a small town in the early 20th century. Everybody knows everybody else, they all live comfortably with each other, nobody locks their doors at night...combine that with some breath taking production design by William Cameron Menzies and it creates a very comfortable, idyllic feeling. Also some of the shots of the town at night were just beautiful.

A lot of people complain about the total lack of chemistry between Scott and Holden. They're not wrong but this was Scott's first film and Holden's third (I believe)...they were still young and learning. As it is, it's incredible to see Holden so young, handsome and full of life. Scott is very good also and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for this. They're backed up by a great cast of character actors from he 1930s--basically, nobody is bad. This didn't move me to tears like others said it did, but it WAS very moving. I'd like to see the other versions.

So, a pretty good view of small town life in the early 20th century.


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Depressing ending jiw2
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Original book/script text? Valmier
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