Review: ‘Talk of the Town’

Case of Cary Grant, the outspoken factory town, soapbox 'anti' worker, being tried for arson and the death of factory foreman in the blaze, serves as a vehicle to introduce a pert schoolteacher (Jean Arthur) and a law school dean (Ronald Colman) in a procession of comedy dissertations on law, in theory and practice. Plot has Grant escaping before his trial is completed and seeking refuge in the schoolmarm's home.

Case of Cary Grant, the outspoken factory town, soapbox ‘anti’ worker, being tried for arson and the death of factory foreman in the blaze, serves as a vehicle to introduce a pert schoolteacher (Jean Arthur) and a law school dean (Ronald Colman) in a procession of comedy dissertations on law, in theory and practice. Plot has Grant escaping before his trial is completed and seeking refuge in the schoolmarm’s home.

Story [from one by Sidney Harmon, adapted by Dale Van Every] doesn’t give Grant quite enough to do, with plenty of meaty lines and situations handed Colman, who manages the transition from the stuffy professor to a human being with the least amount of implausibility.

George Stevens’ direction is topflight for the most part. Transition from serious or melodramatic to the slap-happy and humorous sometimes is a bit awkward, but in the main it is solid escapist comedy.

1942: Nominations: Best Picture, Original Story & Screenplay, B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Editing, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Talk of the Town

Production

Columbia. Director George Stevens; Producer George Stevens; Screenplay Irwin Shaw, Sidney Buchman; Camera Ted Tetzlaff; Editor Otto Meyer; Music Frederick Hollander; Art Director Lionel Banks, Rudolph Sternad

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1942. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Cary Grant Jean Arthur Ronald Colman Edgar Buchanan Glenda Farrell Rex Ingram
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