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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Successful and well-liked, Dr. Noah Praetorius becomes the victim of a witch hunt at the hands of Professor Elwell, who disdains Praetorius's unorthodox medical views and also questions his relationship with the mysterious, ever-present Mr. Shunderson. Fuel is added to the fire when Praetorius befriends young Deborah Higgins, who has become suicidal at the prospect of having a baby by her ex boyfriend, a military reservist who was called up for service in the Korean War and killed in action. Written by
PEOPLE WILL TALK may be my favorite film, if you can have such a thing. Loosely based on a German play, Doctor Praetorious, it tells of a Doctor with a unique philosophy. It was quite a step into some sort of cinematic adulthood when a young student who has found herself pregnant from an illicit romance becomes the sympathetic heroine of the movie, finding love with a charismatic doctor.
Some have said this movie was a comment on the McCarthy era, of personal investigations used by jealous men to destroy charismatic figures, and I thought of this movie quite a lot during the Clinton Impeachment proceedings. I kept saying to myself that the defense team could just run scenes from the movie with good effect, especially Shundersun's closing comment Hume Cronyn's character. And Slezak's comments to the same character that he could string together more unpleasant words than any little pipsqueak he had ever known.
And finally this movie offers some wonderful characters, Walter Slezak's loyal professor, Finley Curry's as the mysterious companion, and the dignified if defeated Sidney Blackmer.
I hope someday to read the German play upon which it was based, but as far as I know it was never translated.
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