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Magic Town (1947)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  7 October 1947 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 818 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 8 critic

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

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Title: Magic Town (1947)

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Cast

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

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade Mágica  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"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 »

Quotes

Mary Peterman: The air becomes charged with electricity around desperate men.
See more »

Soundtracks

MY BOOK OF MEMORY
(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)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This needed a lighter touch.
14 February 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I have to admit the premise behind Magic Town was a really good and original one. The fact that small time pollster James Stewart discovers a town that is a microcosm of American thinking. What a shortcut, just move in there and poll the citizens on any question. But you have to do it with subterfuge and the town can never have any marked growth of any kind or the goose that's laying Stewart's golden egg is cooked.

Enter Jane Wyman, acting editor of the small town paper who has some ideas about getting the town to grow. That sets up the conflict with Stewart and then the romantic complications set in. Their romance and their differing agendas set the tone for the rest of the film.

I think with a lighter touch this could have been a classic film. It's not a bad film, it's moving in spots, but the subject matter doesn't lend itself to Frank Capra type populism. I'm sure this is a property that Capra himself must have rejected.

Stewart and Wyman are ably supported by the usual group of great character performers that usually populate a Capra film. William Wellman directed this and I think he was out of his element. He's so much better in action films.

It's also so old fashioned in its view of small town America. I can't believe that such a place like Grandview could possibly exist. Think about it, a cross section of America would have its bad people too among the population. Not a bad person in the whole town.

And they even list a U.S. Senator in their population. That would in and of itself make it atypical by his mere presence. In fact when this film was made Harry Truman was president and certainly Independence, Missouri has never been "typical" since he came to political prominence.

My favorite scene is the dance where the whole crowd except the outsider Stewart sing the high school song. It's sung to the tune of I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen. It's a nice moment and it demonstrates just how alien big city slicker Jimmy Stewart is in this environment. It's good, but it does tip over into the saccharine.

Both Stewart and Wyman have certainly done better, but fans of both these performers will like it. But can you imagine what someone like Preston Sturges would have done with this material?


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