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People Will Talk (1951)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  29 August 1951 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,698 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 18 critic

Dr. Noah Praetorius falls in love with Debra, a student who finds out that she is pregnant by her old boyfriend.

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Title: People Will Talk (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Deborah Higgins
...
Shunderson
...
Prof. Rodney Elwell
Walter Slezak ...
Prof. Barker
...
Arthur Higgins
Basil Ruysdael ...
Dean Lyman Brockwell
Katherine Locke ...
Miss James
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Storyline

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 Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dr. Praetorious Story  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 25, 1954 with Jeanne Crain and Cary Grant reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

At one point while Dr. Praetorius is waiting in Professor Elwell's classroom, a close-up insert shot of Shunderson is clearly printed backwards. See more »

Quotes

Deborah Higgins: [crying] It's just that I love you so much and I went and put all those candles on that cake when you're really only nine years old.
See more »

Connections

Remake of Frauenarzt Dr. Prätorius (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(uncredited)
Music by Mildred J. Hill
Lyrics by Patty S. Hill
Played on the bass violin and sung by all
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hilarious attack on unnecessary rules, and on the people who enforce them anyway
27 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

People Will Talk (1951)

Joseph L. Mankiewicz is always an impressive director, though this is surely one of his lesser films. That doesn't keep it from being interesting throughout, and the comic scenes are really hilarious. Of course, it doesn't hurt to use Cary Grant as the lead, with three oddball men backing him up (the father-in-law, the atomic scientist, and his old, silent friend). Across from him is the charming, somewhat demur Jeanne Crain, who does sometimes perk things up a bit, but she is generally fairly stately.

I say this because the movie itself resembles Jeanne Crain: pretty, effective, restrained, and with a short nose. That is, it never quite takes off, and even the lively Grant as an unorthodox doctor seems buttoned up, much like his role in The Bishop's Wife, rather than his funnier side (most of his films, including Monkey Business the following year) or more dapper side (especially later one, but even in Only Angels Have Wings.) Since Grant anchors the film, this all matters. At times, his tone becomes more than professorial, and he sounds like a politician, but a respectable one, and People Will Talk is partly an anti-McCarthy, anti-witch hunt film from the Red Scare days. The speeches are meant to be taken quite seriously, no matter how absurd the comedy. Without this context, a lot of it will seem lofty and wordy. In fact, it still does, a flaw that time will only make worse.

No matter what our era remembers of Joe McCarthy, the movie demands little of most of the characters, and more makes fun of highbrow men, and of institutions in general, from the university to marriage itself, all as allegory to an establishment of rules above principles, which the movie makers and Grant's character clearly abhor. What matters more is the human heart, in medicine and in love, and Grant, with dignity, shows the way.

People Will Talk is both breezy and weighty--a solid farce, if that isn't contradictory. Some of the secondary actors are terrific, especially Walter Slezak (who appears in a similar, happy role in Born to Kill). As usual, Mankiewicz surrounds himself with talent behind the scenes at Fox, with Milton Krasner behind the camera (in high key style) and Alfred Newman in charge of music (some of which is diagetic).


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