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The Talk of the Town (1942)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 20 August 1942 (USA)
An escaped prisoner and a stuffy law professor vie for the hand of a spirited schoolteacher.

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Nominated for 7 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Andrew Holmes
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Mrs. Shelley
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Tilney
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Jan Pulaski
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Police Chief
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Storyline

In suburban Lochester, New England, three people end up living together in high school teacher Nora Shelley's rental house. The first is her new tenant, renowned Harvard law professor Michael Lightcap, who has rented the house for the summer while he writes his new book. The second is Nora herself. Despite having an auspicious first meeting, Lightcap hires Nora to be his live-in cook and secretary for a week until his manservant Tilney arrives. The third is Joseph, the property's gardener, who is currently laid up with a sprained ankle. In reality, Joseph is Nora's childhood friend Leopold Dilg, who has just escaped from prison. Leopold was being tried for the arson of the factory where he worked, and for murder for the death of the factory foreman Clyde Bracken, whose body was never recovered but who is assumed to have died in the fire. Despite the danger to herself, Nora hides Leopold since she believes his story that although he, as an activist, did speak out about the dangerous ... Written by Huggo

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Taglines:

Screen comedy so gay... drama so thrilling... love so exciting, it will be the talk of YOUR town!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 August 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

George Stevens' The Talk of the Town  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first time since the silent era that Ronald Colman was billed below another male lead. See more »

Goofs

When Leopold Dilg is seen escaping to Nora Shelley's house during the rainstorm early in the film, the rainfall is not evenly dispersed across the screen, and several frames show no rain falling at all on the periphery of the shot. See more »

Quotes

Leopold Dilg: Well, it's a form of self-expression. Some people write books. Some people write music. I make speeches on street corners.
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Connections

Referenced in Tis tyhis ta grammena (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

High Pressure And Love
(uncredited)
Music by Werner R. Heymann
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User Reviews

 
A colorful suspense in lively wit and a judicial theme -- MUST-SEE entertaining B/W classics
20 April 1999 | by See all my reviews

It's entertaining suspense with lively lines and conversations, even discourse on law and justice --- fugitive scenario with the ever radiant Jean Arthur as the spunky heroine in the whirl of it all.

Suspenseful tale touching on society's reactions to law and order, yet comedic with subtle hints of romance, delivered in polished words and flowing pace -- thanks to the wonderful trio of Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman -- humor not missing a beat even at the critical moments. Simply well-crafted direction by George Stevens, optimizing a sharply written script by Irwin Shaw and Sidney Buchman, based on Sidney Harmon's story. It's absolutely delightfully enjoyable.

Cary Grant is Leopold Dilg, the fugitive. Jean Arthur is Nora Shelley, a schoolteacher whose house becomes the hideout for Leopold. Ronald Colman is Professor Lightcap who happens to arrive on the scene to occupy Miss Shelley's house for summer rental. Such crisp delivery: using newspaper headlines flashing across the screen, the first 5 minutes -- short of 2 brief spoken lines -- set the atmosphere and tone of the story simply by what we see on screen (enhanced by music). The ending was just as succinct in few spoken words -- well-edited character expressions and the quick cut scenes were effective vs. using dialog. Music essentially complements the unfolding plot -- sometimes spices up the tempo of the film.

No words are wasted here. No foul language (an occasional "darn" perhaps), no gratuitous action/violence, no car chase (a just as exciting dogs-chasing-man scene there is). Wit, charm and humor abundantly applied. The film also attempts to have a moral message (not at all preachy) on how everyone should treat law and order. It presents questions (serious and light): "Why does man lie?" "If you want to get information out of a woman, how do you go about it?" "What are extenuating circumstances about the law?" and not forgetting a pun or two: "Your cold will thaw. Everything thaws." Lively lines with comedic pacing are blended into the precarious situations of the storyline with flowing humor.

Every supporting role has his/her particular part in the grand scheme of things and each little scene is flawlessly integrated into the plot. It's wonderful to watch this film. Rarely do we have a suspense that's so very entertaining -- comedic and romantic, too -- all wound together into 1:58 length -- colorfully presented in Black and White. Simply timeless. MUST-SEE classics this is. Made in 1942, the subject of law and order still applies today.

Other B/W timeless pieces with Jean Arthur, the ever energetic talking-continuously-in-one-breath heroine, are three from Frank Capra: "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" 1936 with Gary Cooper, "You Can't Take It with You" 1938 with James Stewart, and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"1939 with James Stewart encore.

More B/W gems with Cary Grant besides the Hitchcock classics, and the famous George Cuckor's "The Philadelphia Story" 1940 with Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, are: Cuckor's "Holiday" 1938 with K. Hepburn, Howard Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby" 1938 also with K. Hepburn, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's "People Will Talk" 1951 with Jeanne Craine.

Albert Lewin's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" 1945, based on a novel by Oscar Wilde, is yet another rare gem of B/W classics, somehow with (necessary) true color segments included. Intriguing contemplative tale.


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