38 user 18 critic

The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 22 February 1935 (USA)
A meek milquetoast of a clerk's mistaken for public enemy N° 1, and the notorious killer takes advantage of the situation


John Ford


Jo Swerling (screen play), Robert Riskin (screen play) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Arthur Ferguson Jones / Killer Manion
Jean Arthur ... Miss Wilhelmina Clark
Arthur Hohl ... Detective Sergeant Boyle
James Donlan James Donlan ... Detective Sergeant Howe
Arthur Byron ... Spencer
Wallace Ford ... Healy
Donald Meek ... Hoyt
Etienne Girardot ... Seaver
Edward Brophy ... 'Slugs' Martin
Paul Harvey ... 'J.G.' Carpenter


Ordinary man-on-the-street Arthur Ferguson Jones leads a regularly life, but one day, everything changes; he's mistaken for criminal Mannion and is arrested. The resemblance is so striking, the police give him a special pass to avoid a similar mistake. The real Mannion sees an opportunity to steal the pass, and chaos results. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Greater than "Little Caesar!" (Print Ad- New York Sun, ((New York, NY)) 14 March 1935) See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Direct references to drug use were forbidden after the adoption of the "Ccde," but here the filmmakers must have not have understood it when a character was referred to a being "coked up." See more »


When Jones returns to his home; Mannion is waiting for him and is holding a pocket watch with his left hand. But on the next immediate cut, Mannion is now holding the watch with his right hand. See more »


"Killer" Mannion: Hey Jonsey! Come er'! False alarm.
[as he's looking at the printed article]
"Killer" Mannion: You shot off a lot of steam didn't cha! I'm a false alarm am I!
Arthur Ferguson Jones: Oh I didn't write it sir, man on the paper did it. I-I tried to stop him from printing it.
"Killer" Mannion: Yeah, I guess alot of guys think I'm a false alarm!
[as hes looking directly into Jones' face]
"Killer" Mannion: [Jones says with fright in his voice] Oh no!
"Killer" Mannion: Who's gonna write the rest of these articles?
Arthur Ferguson Jones: I'm supposed to but I'll call the whole thing off.
"Killer" Mannion: Nah you won't! Your gonna write'm alright...
See more »


Referenced in Porky's Double Trouble (1937) See more »

User Reviews

The perfect comedy – a sheer delight!
9 November 2005 | by manuel-pestalozziSee all my reviews

I saw this movie a long time ago as a teenager during a Edward G. Robinson retrospective. It was the one that stuck in my mind, and I never forgot it. Now I have it on videotape and watch it regularly, it stands multiple viewing very well.

The Whole Town's Talking is one of those perfect little movies. Everything falls into place – the acting, the pace, the timing of the jokes, the dialog. Even the set design is fabulous, it was basically the big, bright office space in which the good guy Robinson plays „slaves" that was unforgettable to me. The movie boasts an assortment of caricature like characters like no other movie I know, beside Robinson I would like to mention Jean Arthur, of course, and the two funny little guys, Donald Meek and, even more memorable, Etienne Girardot as the pedantic office overseer who urges Robinson to get on with the Macintyre account.

In its social comment The Whole Town's Talking reminds me of the work of Preston Sturgess. Mentionable are the media hype about a famous gangster which is really over the top (it's up there with His Girl Friday in this aspect) and the incompetence of the police force which is unable to deal with the gangster and even less with the media and is presented as a helpless and clueless organization. So the movie still has some actuality.

Movie buffs who look at John Ford as an „auteur" may be disappointed. The Whole Town's Talking is very much a product of the studio system. But it amply shows what great things that system was able to accomplish at times!

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Release Date:

22 February 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Whole Town's Talking See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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