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Our Town (1940)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 24 May 1940 (USA)
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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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Doro Merande ...
Philip Wood ...
Ruth Tobey ...
Rebecca Gibbs (as Ruth Toby)
Douglas Gardner ...
Arthur B. Allen ...
Professor Willard (as Arthur Allen)
...
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

Plot Keywords:

birth | uncle | neighbor | farm | death | See All (52) »

Taglines:

The screen's most unusual picture. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nuestro pueblo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Hypercube restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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

Just wondering if the one that made the comment about "going down to Maine" ever heard the phrase commonly referred to by New Englanders... down east? When someone refers to going "down east" it usually means they are going to Maine. 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

Referenced in Lost at Home: Our Town (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played on an organ for the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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