Magic Town (1947)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  7 October 1947 (USA)
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Reviews: 19 user | 9 critic

An opinion pollster finds a town which is a perfect mirror of U.S. opinions.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kent Smith ...
Ned Sparks ...
Lou Dicketts
Ed Weaver
Mrs. Weaver
Mr. Twiddle
E.J. Ballantine ...
Ann Shoemaker ...
Ma Peterman
Mickey Kuhn ...
Hank Nickleby
Harry Holman ...
Mary Currier ...
Mrs. Frisby
Mickey Roth ...
Bob Peterman


Rip Smith's opinion-poll business is a failure...until he discovers that the small town of Grandview is statistically identical to the entire country. He and his assistants go there to run polls cheaply and easily, in total secrecy (it would be fatal to let the townsfolk get self-conscious). And of course, civic crusader Mary Peterman must be kept from changing things too much. But romantic involvement with Mary complicates life for Rip; then suddenly everything changes... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The guy with the dynamite heart meets the girl with the firecracker eyes!


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 October 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade Mágica  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 6, 1950 with James Stewart reprising his film role. See more »


Lawrence 'Rip' Smith: I've been searching for a town like this for years. You know, when I got off that train this morning, I said to myself "This is it." I've just walked through your town, folks, with its shade trees and its lovely parks. I stood before your impressive buildings mellowed with age, and I said to myself "Here is a sturdy challenge to the evils of the modern era." I watched your people on the street, and I felt their vitality and their sense of security. Your children are happy. They're happy. You ...
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(originally "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen")
Music by Thomas Payne Westendorf (uncredited)
Lyric: Edward Heyman
Sung by chorus with brief solos by Jane Wyman (uncredited)
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User Reviews

MAGIC TOWN (William A. Wellman, 1947) **1/2
4 July 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Written and produced by frequent Frank Capra collaborator Robert Riskin and starring the director's three-time leading man James Stewart, one would be excused for mistaking this for a film by the celebrated purveyor of socially-conscious comedies.

However, while the plot is typically original and engaging, somehow it lacks Capra's unique cinematic expertise in putting over Riskin's ideas: the tone is too often syrupy and sentimental, while the hero isn't made to face formidable villains such as one finds in Capra's work. Even if director Wellman was more at home in outdoor actioners, he often displayed a social side and, for the record, had previously triumphed in two classic films set in contemporary times – namely the original version of A STAR IS BORN and the screwball comedy NOTHING SACRED (1937).

Stewart is a poll expert who believes that one city in the U.S. could be deemed the reference point as to how the whole nation thinks and feels about all aspects of life – its aspirations, trends, political views, etc. His report leads him to settle on the small Midwestern town of Grandview which, however, is on the point of modernizing itself (via a project bequeathed to local reporter Jane Wyman by her father). This would, doubtless, affect the idealized image being promoted by Stewart of Grandview as the prototypical American town with its simple way of life, so he manipulates the populace (without letting them on to his line of work) into opposing Wyman's scheme! This doesn't prevent the two from falling in love – a romance which ends, though, when she overhears him speaking to his superior in New York; distraught, she exposes his racket – but, in so doing, brings a whole circus of 'prospectors' and newshounds upon Grandview…so that the next poll turns out to be a disaster, and the town is disgraced!

Stewart is dismayed by all of this; however, he keeps in touch with the people of Grandview (the kids especially had learned to look up to him in view of his basketball prowess!) and, of course, Wyman. Eventually, he hits upon the idea that a pompous statement made earlier (but which remained unpublished) by the highest authorities in Grandview that, if necessary, they'll erect the proposed civic centre with their own hands could be used now to symbolize the town's determination to re-emerge… An RKO production, the film also features such reliable performers as Ned Sparks and Donald Meek as Stewart's associates, Kent Smith as a Grandview professor and ex-school chum of Stewart's, and Wallace Ford as one of the eminent townspeople.

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