6.6/10
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61 user 13 critic

Our Town (1940)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 24 May 1940 (USA)
Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century.

Director:

Sam Wood

Writers:

Thornton Wilder (play), Thornton Wilder (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... George Gibbs
Martha Scott ... Emily Webb
Fay Bainter ... Mrs. Gibbs
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Webb
Thomas Mitchell ... Dr. Gibbs
Guy Kibbee ... Mr. Webb
Stuart Erwin ... Howie Newsome
Frank Craven ... Mr. Morgan
Doro Merande ... Mrs. Soames
Philip Wood Philip Wood ... Simon Stimson
Ruth Tobey Ruth Tobey ... Rebecca Gibbs (as Ruth Toby)
Douglas Gardner Douglas Gardner ... Wally Webb
Arthur B. Allen Arthur B. Allen ... Professor Willard (as Arthur Allen)
Charles Trowbridge ... Dr. Ferguson
Spencer Charters ... Constable Warren
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Storyline

Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks their front doors. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen's most unusual picture. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Martha Scott. She was not considered for the role of "Emily" at first because of her poor screen test for the role of "Melanie" in Gone with the Wind (1939), but she was chosen after much auditioning of other actresses. See more »

Goofs

Sunflowers are shown in full bloom in the garden, but wouldn't be that early in the year (establishing information that the date was June 7, 1901), especially that far north in the U.S. See more »

Quotes

Emily Webb: Wait! One more look. Goodbye. Goodbye, world! Goodbye, Grover's Corners. Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking, my butternut tree, and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee, and... new-ironed dresses and hot baths. And sleeping and waking up! Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you! Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?
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Connections

Referenced in The Society: Our Town (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?
(1868)
Music "Stephanos" by Henry W. Baker (1868)
Greek words by Stephen of Mar Saba (Judea) (8th century)
Translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale (1862)
Played on an organ in church by Philip Wood and sung by the choir
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User Reviews

 
Thornton Wilder's Mood-Rich Stage Piece Becomes an Equally-Memorable Film
28 February 2007 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

Like "Harvey", "The Second Woman" and "Good Morning, Miss Dove", "Our Town" is set in an underpopulated United States town. Its 1901 look shares features with theirs, as do some of its story elements. Everyone knows practically everyone else; and the very fact that such towns are not the sort of place where important thing happens renders what does happen peculiarly intense, as if it had been placed under a magnifying lens in a powerful light. Author Thornton Wilder and his co-writers here adapt what was a most successful and atmospheric play into a deliberately-paced by I suggest an absorbing screenplay. It has the build perhaps of "Picnic" with the underlying calm of a good early western; only the setting here is Grover Corners, New Hampshire, a decidedly northeastern setting.. Sam Wood directed the film with his usual understated skill; and the writers I believe have retained the best of Mr. Wilder's crisp and often memorable dialogue. The film really divides into three parts--which I would nominate as Introduction, George and Emily and Two Futures(?). George Gibbs and Emily Webb in this film become two of the best remembered characters in U.S. fiction. Sol Lesser produced, with music by Aaron Copland, whose repressed melodies seem to me perfectly to serve this understated masterwork of dramatic construction. Production designer William Cameron Menzies and cinematographer Bert Glennon here tried for an uncompromising atmosphere rather than quaint or merely attractive compositions. Julia Heron did the remarkable interiors, with simple but effective wardrobe by Edward P. Lambert. Among the cast, Martha Scott is wonderfully young and unspoiled, and as Dr. Gibbs, Thomas Mitchell plays with Fay Bainter as his wife more-than-expertly. As their neighbors Editor Webb and his wife, Guy Kibbee is unusually restrained and Beulah Bondi as usual solidly dependable or better in every scene she is given. Stuart Erwin ad Frank Craven (as the stage manager) are quite good, and young William Holden shows to much better advantage than he did in several other films of the period. The supporting cast is not given a great deal to do but they do it very seamlessly, in my opinion. But what one remembers of "Our Town" I assert is its haunting, almost poetic quality. The production's pace is leisurely without being slow, electrically tense without being excited and focused without becoming too sad. The story here is about life, death, youth, love, honesty and fear--and the narrative evokes these emotions in the viewer honestly I claim because it is never pretentious and never striving for the effect that it admirably earns. It is I argue a touching black-and-white classic; and it is quite well acted also throughout.

_____________________________________


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Our Town See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Hypercube restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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