6.6/10
2,285
60 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

The only Best Picture nominee that year to be also nominated for Best Scoring. 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

Mr. Morgan: [Opening] The name of our town is Grover's Corners, New Hampshire. It's just cross the line from Massachusetts. Latitude is 42 degrees, 40 minutes. Longitude is 70 degrees, 37 minutes. Running right through the middle of the town is Main Street. Cutting across Main Street on the left is the railroad tracks. Beyond the railroad tracks is Polish Town. You know, foreign folks who come here to work in the mills or a couple of Canuck families, and the Catholic church. You can see the steeple on the ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Psych: Yang 3 in 2D (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn
Played on an organ after the wedding
See more »

User Reviews

 
A bit depressing but an interesting piece of Americana
29 September 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" is considered an American classic and it's a play that is often discussed in schools here in the States. Because of this, I was somewhat familiar with the story and remember disliking it. However, it seems that this was because instead of watching the play being performed or watching this movie (that was adapted by Wilder for the screen), my class in middle school read the play--the worst possible way to understand and appreciate it. Now, 35 years later, I finally got around to seeing it like it should be seen--and I am glad I did.

This is an interesting play because of its cast. In addition to a lot of familiar supporting actors such as Guy Kibbee, Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell and Frank Craven (who assisted Wilder with the screenplay), the film marks the debut of Martha Scott and William Holden. I really appreciate how many of the actors are the same folks who starred in the Broadway play and how the studio let Wilder keep control of his script--this, unfortunately, is pretty rare. Too often, a studio buys a play and then completely changes it--showing utter contempt for the actors and playwright.

As far as the story goes, it's quite peculiar in style. The closest film I can think of like this is the film version of Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude"--but the O'Neill play didn't really work well on screen. Both featured characters speaking their thoughts out loud to the audience--an unusual innovation to say the least. Another innovation in "Our Town" is having the character of the Mr. Morgan (Craven) also acting as the narrator. Because of this unusual style and the leisurely pace of the film, it's one that might lose viewers who don't have the patience to stick with this one. Don't give up--especially when the film gets depressing--it's a delight and the payoff is definitely worth the long wait.

Impressively written, full of wonderful performances and expertly directed, this one is well worth seeing. And, fortunately, since it's in the public domain, it's downloadable from the link on IMDb. Give it a chance--it's a delightful piece of Americana.


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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
See full technical specs »

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