The Talk Of The Town

1942, Movie, NR, 118 mins


The contrivance of plot is compensated by one of the most genial casts in history. Full of wonderful bon mots, TOWN is acted with comic fervor by Grant, Arthur, and Colman.

Colman plays a renowned law professor who wants to spend a quiet summer writing while he awaits an appointment to the Supreme Court. He takes lodgings in the home of Arthur, a schoolteacher, but Colman's summer proves to be anything but quiet. Grant, who has escaped from jail after being labeled as the man behind a deadly factory fire, has taken refuge in the house as well. Arthur tells the bearded professor that Grant is the gardener, taking great care to protect Grant's secret. Colman is set in his ways when it comes to legalities, but what's more, he soon learns the real reason for Grant's stay at the house. It turns out that Grant was framed by a corrupt local government. The foreman who supposedly died in the blaze is very much alive, and both Colman and Grant develop an active interest in Arthur.

Grant, Arthur, and Colman are a terrific threesome, playing well off one another in a finely constructed love triangle. Both men want Arthur, yet Colman never lets his desire for her take precedence over the justice that must be done. Stevens directs his cast well, handling the double-edged story with grace and style. He originally shot two endings, one with Colman getting Arthur, and the other having Arthur pair with Grant. Both endings were shown in preview screenings, and audience polls decided how the film would end. This was Colman's first film at Columbia since 1937's LOST HORIZON. Much to his delight, he learned that Stevens had arranged it so the actor would not have to deal with studio chief Harry Cohn during TALK OF THE TOWN's production. At the time Colman had been experiencing some popularity problems at the box office, and this hit film gave his career the desired boost. leave a comment

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