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The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 22 February 1935 (USA)
A meek milquetoast of a clerk is mistaken for Public Enemy #1, and the notorious killer takes advantage of the situation.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Arthur Ferguson Jones / Killer Manion
... Miss Wilhelmina Clark
... Detective Sergeant Boyle
James Donlan ... Detective Sergeant Howe
... Spencer
... Healy
... Hoyt
... Seaver
... 'Slugs' Martin
... 'J.G.' Carpenter
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Storyline

Ordinary man-in-the-street Arthur Ferguson Jones leads a very straightforward life. He's never late for work and nothing interesting ever happens to him. One day everything changes: he oversleeps and is fired as an example, he's then mistaken for evil criminal killer Mannion and is arrested. The resemblance is so striking that the police give him a special pass to avoid a similar mistake. The real Mannion sees the opportunity to steal the pass and move around freely and chaos results. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

22 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kralj gangstera  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is the inspiration for 1998 Bollywood movie 'Duplicate' starring Shah Rukh Khan in the double role. See more »

Goofs

When Jonesy leaves his apartment in a rush he forgets to turn off the taps and his tub is (torrentially) overflowing. But when he returns from the police much later in the day there is no water anywhere. See more »

Quotes

'J.G.' Carpenter: Well, well, well, good morning Jones. I see your boyfriend was quite busy last night.
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Connections

Referenced in Between Eleven and Midnight (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mr. Winkle Meets Little Caesar
2 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

I don't think there's anyone who's ever seen The Whole Town's Talking and doesn't believe this was a film intended for Frank Capra. The mere fact that the screenplay was co-written by Robert Riskin who won an Oscar together with Capra for It Happened One Night the year before should give ample indication. If Capra had a choice between this and Broadway Bill he chose wrong.

Although this kind of comedy is not usually what is found in John Ford films, Ford does OK by it. I don't think he ever directed again anything that could be remotely classified as screwball comedy.

Edward G. Robinson who would make his second and last appearance in a Ford film 34 years later in Cheyenne Autumn, plays a dual role. He plays Killer Mannion in the tradition he established as Little Caesar and also A.L. Jones a meek, mild mannered clerk a type Robinson would play later in Mr. Winkle Goes to War.

Mannion's escaped from prison and there's a manhunt on for him, similar to the kind that was on for John Dillinger a year earlier. The police will simply shoot to kill. Bad luck for a guy that looks like Mannion and worse luck when Mannion finds out about his doppleganger and tries to make use of him.

Robinson is fine in his dual performance, but the film was a milestone for Jean Arthur who plays Robinson's fellow employee and despite his being a milquetoast, she sees something in him. Up to this point Arthur had played a lot of ingénues and loyal wives to leading men. This is her first role in a screwball type comedy that she became known for, in fact what she's remembered for mostly. Of course a year later, Harry Cohn did team her with Frank Capra and they certainly made some cinematic history.

My favorite two supporting parts are Etienne Girardot as Robinson's officious little office manager and Donald Meek another milquetoast who originally mistakenly turns in the clerk as the gangster and stays on the 'case.'

Though he's not in his element John Ford serves a nice piece of entertainment.


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