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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
After winning two successive Oscars for A Letter To Three Wives and All About Eve, director Joseph Mankiewicz was on one big creative roll. His next film was this charming comedy/drama about a medical doctor with some interesting ideas and one of his patients, a girl with a bundle of joy on the way and a dead father, courtesy of the Korean War.
Those roles are played by Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain. Grant's a strange kind of doctor who believes that surgery and pills are only a last resort. Today he might be operating a very successful wellness center.
Grant would still be getting the a lot of criticism from jealous colleagues like Hume Cronyn. In fact that's how the film opens up with Cronyn getting a report from Margaret Hamilton who was from a place where Grant practiced his trade called Goose Creek. It was a report about Grant affected a lot of 'miracle' cures down in Goose Creek. Our boy Cronyn is looking for dirt with which he can discredit Cary.
Playing a most mysterious role in the proceedings is Finlay Currie who lives with Grant and is hardly ever not around him. At the faculty hearing that Cronyn has called to discuss the charges Cronyn has made because of his investigation, Currie's story is finally told and it is quite the tale indeed.
Cronyn has one of two roles that could be described as villainous. He's a nasty little Grinch like creature who thinks he can rise to the top by discrediting others. You find those in every profession, in every walk of life.
You also find people like Will Wright who is Jeanne Crain's uncle. She and her father, Sidney Blackmer, live on Wright's farm totally as his dependents. Blackmer is a cultured, cultivated man who unfortunately was never able to make a go of the various professions he tried, teacher, reporter, etc. Now with bad health he's come back to the family farm to live with Crain at the sufferance of Wright who proudly claims them as his dependents.
In defense of Wright he's no doubt a hard working individual, but he's as prosperous as he is because of government agricultural subsidies. In a scene very similar to one Elizabeth Taylor had in Giant, Grant rather firmly puts Wright down saying how unfortunate it is that brains and talent can't similarly be subsidized. Wright is such a philistine, the remark goes totally over him. It's my favorite scene in the film.
Besides those I've mentioned, look for a nice performance from Walter Slezak as Grant's friend and chief defender and Basil Ruysdael as the dean of the college conducting a hearing.
People Will Talk is a wonderful film about mostly some very nice people and the small contributions they make to make our planet a happy one. The only fault I have with it is I can't imagine Cary Grant coming from a place called Goose Creek.
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