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Magic Town (1947)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 7 October 1947 (USA)
An opinion pollster finds a town which is a perfect mirror of U.S. opinions.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Robert Riskin (story), Joseph Krumgold (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... Rip Smith
Jane Wyman ... Mary Peterman
Kent Smith ... Professor Frederick Hoopendecker
Ned Sparks ... Ike
Wallace Ford ... Lou Dicketts
Regis Toomey ... Ed Weaver
Ann Doran ... Mrs. Weaver
Donald Meek ... Mr. Twiddle
E.J. Ballantine ... Moody
Ann Shoemaker ... Ma Peterman
Mickey Kuhn ... Hank Nickleby
Howard Freeman ... Nickleby
Harry Holman ... Mayor
Mary Currier ... Mrs. Frisby
Mickey Roth Mickey Roth ... Bob Peterman
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Storyline

Rip Smith's opinion-poll business is a failure...until he discovers that the small town of Grandview is statistically identical to the entire country. He and his assistants go there to run polls cheaply and easily, in total secrecy (it would be fatal to let the townsfolk get self-conscious). And of course, civic crusader Mary Peterman must be kept from changing things too much. But romantic involvement with Mary complicates life for Rip; then suddenly everything changes... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The guy with the dynamite heart meets the girl with the firecracker eyes!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While inspired by the Middletown Studies of 1924 and 1937, the movie's public opinion plot bears no similarity to those research studies by sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd. Their research was the study of "the interwoven trends that are the life of a small American city." The Rockefeller Institute of Social and Religious Research funded the Lynd research projects. A 1929 book by the Lynd's reported their findings in "Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture." See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Wilton: Good heavens. I'm so excited I ate one of my own muffins.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a colorized version. See more »

Soundtracks

My Book of Memory
(originally "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen")
Music by Thomas Payne Westendorf (uncredited)
Lyric: Edward Heyman
Sung by chorus with brief solos by Jane Wyman (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
MAGIC TOWN (William A. Wellman, 1947) **1/2
4 July 2008 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

Written and produced by frequent Frank Capra collaborator Robert Riskin and starring the director's three-time leading man James Stewart, one would be excused for mistaking this for a film by the celebrated purveyor of socially-conscious comedies.

However, while the plot is typically original and engaging, somehow it lacks Capra's unique cinematic expertise in putting over Riskin's ideas: the tone is too often syrupy and sentimental, while the hero isn't made to face formidable villains such as one finds in Capra's work. Even if director Wellman was more at home in outdoor actioners, he often displayed a social side and, for the record, had previously triumphed in two classic films set in contemporary times – namely the original version of A STAR IS BORN and the screwball comedy NOTHING SACRED (1937).

Stewart is a poll expert who believes that one city in the U.S. could be deemed the reference point as to how the whole nation thinks and feels about all aspects of life – its aspirations, trends, political views, etc. His report leads him to settle on the small Midwestern town of Grandview which, however, is on the point of modernizing itself (via a project bequeathed to local reporter Jane Wyman by her father). This would, doubtless, affect the idealized image being promoted by Stewart of Grandview as the prototypical American town with its simple way of life, so he manipulates the populace (without letting them on to his line of work) into opposing Wyman's scheme! This doesn't prevent the two from falling in love – a romance which ends, though, when she overhears him speaking to his superior in New York; distraught, she exposes his racket – but, in so doing, brings a whole circus of 'prospectors' and newshounds upon Grandview…so that the next poll turns out to be a disaster, and the town is disgraced!

Stewart is dismayed by all of this; however, he keeps in touch with the people of Grandview (the kids especially had learned to look up to him in view of his basketball prowess!) and, of course, Wyman. Eventually, he hits upon the idea that a pompous statement made earlier (but which remained unpublished) by the highest authorities in Grandview that, if necessary, they'll erect the proposed civic centre with their own hands could be used now to symbolize the town's determination to re-emerge… An RKO production, the film also features such reliable performers as Ned Sparks and Donald Meek as Stewart's associates, Kent Smith as a Grandview professor and ex-school chum of Stewart's, and Wallace Ford as one of the eminent townspeople.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Magic Town See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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