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Our Town (1940)

 -  Drama  -  24 May 1940 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,410 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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(play), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Our Town (1940)

Our Town (1940) on IMDb 6.9/10

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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

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. 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

Spoofed in Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979) 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

 
Classic Americana
29 May 2001 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Beautiful and poetic movie blends great score, direction and acting into a symphonic ode to small-town life in turn-of-the-century America. This movie is purely about the poetry behind human trials and tribulations. It is also a marvelous time capsule that should be shown to any literature class transmitting perfectly the soul of pre-war America. I recommend it as a family movie to all.

The rest of this review deals with the other reviewers since it has been made clear by what I have read that the IMDB "no spoilers" rule strangely does not apply to Our Town. True, the movie was no more Thornton Wilder's play than Yentl was Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story or Educating Rita was Willy Russell's play or Christine was Steven King's book to name just three which were radically changed to accommodate the director's vision of what a movie based on these materials should say to the moviegoing audience. King has said words to the effect that, "(paraphrasing...) My book is my book. When I sell my rights to the movie-makers to use my book as a platform for a film, it is precisely that which I do. The movie is not my book any more than How The West Was Won is history. It is merely the participating artists' vision of the source material." The late James Michener has voiced similar opinions.

Admittedly, others like Gore Vidal have felt damaged when three lines were omitted. They view their text as sacrosanct. My suggestion to them is to emulate J. D. Salinger. If you don't want your work changed, do not sell the rights; a movie is not a book or a play; it is a movie.

For what it is worth, I had read the play first, was depressed by it, and was personally surprised, delighted, and enraptured by the lyrical ending which, to me, remained more true to the entire spirit of the movie (a la Sam Wood's Goodbye Mr. Chips -- still one of my all-time favorites, also not 100% true to James Hilton's book)than the original bummer ending would have, since the tone had been lightened and lyricized throughout. But, this is what artistic expression and interpretation is all about. Different eyes, minds, and hearts see and interpret the same things differently. Sam Wood, like Thornton Wilder, was an artist, not a mechanic, as were the other artists involved in the movie. What lives is their interpretation of the source material to make a movie that is an ode to small-town American life rather than Wilder's essay on the unbearable lightness of being, as it were.




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Depressing ending jiw2
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Original book/script text? Valmier
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Too bad the musical version is not around barjo4
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