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People Will Talk

420 customer reviews

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(Jan 06, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Screen legend Cary Grant stars as Dr. Noah Praetorius, a lovable professor and head of a medical clinic who becomes the subject of a McCarthy-style investigation initiated by a jealous colleague (Hume Cronyn). Along the way, Praetorius befriends and ultimately marries a young woman who attempts suicide when she discovers she is pregnant. Baut as the witch-hunt into the good doctor's personal life progresses, so do the laughs in this well-crafted, all-star treasure that should be part of every film lover's collection of classics.

After winning consecutive best director Oscars (for A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve), Joseph Mankiewicz turned his attention to this extremely curious social comedy. Cary Grant plays a famous, idealistic gynecologist whose mysterious past is questioned by a vindictive colleague (Hume Cronyn). Meanwhile, the doctor falls for a pregnant patient (Jeanne Crain), whose unmarried status is daring for a movie of 1951 vintage. The title is an all-too-apt description of Mankiewicz's chatty style, but it also carries sinister echoes of the McCarthy era--specifically, an attempted right-wing purge of the Director's Guild, I which Mankiewicz was the main target. This subtext lends interest beyond the movie's rather tame romance. The Grant character, named Doctor Praetorius (no relation to the Bride of Frankenstein wacko, one hopes), conducts a college orchestra and is prone to "twilight sadness"--it's an offbeat role for the actor, and one he clearly relishes. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Still gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain, Finlay Currie, Hume Cronyn, Walter Slezak
  • Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Writers: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Curt Goetz
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (420 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DD780
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "People Will Talk" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Reginald on February 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Another one of Joseph L. Mankiewicz's films to be lost in the wake of All About Eve, People Will Talk is a terrific comedy/drama featuring a wonderful cast. Cary Grant is Dr. Praetorius whose treatment of patients is somewhat controversial and unconventional. When he befriends a young, unmarried pregnant woman (Jeanne Crain), Grant finds himself the focus of an investigation lead by a jealous collegue (Hume Cronyn) at the university where they both teach. Grant's interest and concern for Crain goes so far as his proposing marriage. And then there's the matter of Mr. Shunderson (Finlay Currie), Grant's seemingly simple-minded, yet constant companion. No one seems to know the details of Mr. Shunderson's life, except Grant, and he's not telling. Not a huge hit when first released, People Will Talk has developed an almost cult following today, and like many past film "failures," it's now considerd a pretty good film. Perhaps it was ahead of its time, but it has some wonderfully rich characterizations, including great turns by the aforementioned Currie, Hume Cronyn, Walter Slezak, Sidney Blackmer, and a terrific bit by an unbilled Margaret Hamilton as Miss Pickett to keep the narrative moving. My favorite scene is Grant's visit to Crain's uncle's house (she and her father life with her uncle). Grant, Blackmer, Currie, and Crain are all sitting on the front porch. Crain objects to being the center of their discussion and refuses to leave the porch. She goes so far as to scream the cook's name "Bella" at the top of her lungs, rather than move from her perch. What the movie does say about the practice of medicine and human relationships is perhaps more relevant today than when first released in 1951. As with most Mankiewicz films, it is successful on the surface.Read more ›
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104 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
"People Will Talk" is a movie that I first stumbled upon while flipping channels one day. Cary Grant plays Dr. Noah Praetorius, who both practices and teaches medicine with an apporach that is refreshingly modern, even by today's standards. When young Deborah Higgins (Jeanne Crain) collapses, the good Doctor learns she is pregnant, unmarried, and suicidal. After telling her a story about a frog to make her think she is not really pregnant, some things happen and he ends up marrying Deborah. Meanwhile, Professor Rodney Elwell (Hume Cronyn) find Praetorius's novel methods abominable and is trying to find out the truth about not only the good Doctor but his strange companion, Mr. Shunderson (Finlay Currie). The film's climax is an inquisition into Praetorius's past (which keeps him from conduction his orchestra made up of all the school's med students), where it seems that he cured people in a backwater town as their butcher. However, the more Elwell goes after Praetorius, the better the good Doctor looks. Then there is the unbelievable truth about Mr. Shunderson.
For me and a lot of other people the strengths of this film outweigh its weaknesses. The proposal scene does not really work, Grant's performance goes off in different directions from time to time, and you have to think Professor Elwell is too smart to be this stupid. But for me the reason I always watch at least the end of this film whenever I can is that the payoff for the mystery of Mr. Shunderson just bowls me over. Walter Slezak is wonderful as always playing Professor Barker, Praetorius's stout supporter, and although it might be a tad forced I love the scene where the three men are playing with the good Doctor's new train set.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
In the late forties, Mankiewicz was on a role with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, A Letter to Three Wives, rolling right into the fifties with All About Eve and People Will Talk. Unfortunately Eve seems to get all the glory these days. People Will Talk is remarkably up to date. Cary Grant's character, Dr. Praetorius, believes "that knowledge of the human emotions and spirit is as necessary for a medical person as anatomy." Jeanne Crain plays an unwed pregnant student that Grant saves from suicide and despair. The supporting cast includes some of the greatest character actors of all time including Hume Cronyn, Sidney Blackmer, Walter Slezak, Finley Currie, and in a delightfully funny bit Margaret Hamilton. Currie's performance as Grant's faithful assistant/friend is wonderfully under played. One of my favorite moments is the porch scene with Grant, Crain, and Blackmer, with Crain shouting "Bella" at the top of her lungs. You'll have to see the film to enjoy the above commentary. People Will Talk is a delightful film that was way ahead of its time in 1951, and in many ways it still is today.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Wild Bill on October 22, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable movie. Adapted to the American screen from writer Curt Goetz' "Frauenartz Dr. Praetorius", the plot is simple and somewhat superficial. In the hands of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, though, it turns into a gentle, thought provoking comedy of manners that showcases Cary Grant's genius at debonair humor, even though it might come in the middle of surrounding high drama.

The movie opening introduces us to the immediate plot line, with Hume Cronyn, playing a stuffy professor of medicine obviously envious of the good Dr. Praetorius, investigating Cary Grant's background prior to arriving at the university. The romantic interest is carried by Dr. Praetorius being smitten with student Jean Crain (who, at 25, was initially considered to be too old to play the co-ed role) and her out-of-wedlock predicament.

If one is asked what the movie is about, it is a queston that is difficult to answer. The plot is fluff, but the themes of medical ethics, humane treatment of patients, selflessness and witch hunt prosecution of the innocent are universal and apropos of modern life. At one point, Dr. Praetorius speaks about the unthinking distillation of medicine to the point of creating a "mechanical doctor." Needless to say, love conquers all and the righteous prevail. All this, set to the rousing strains of Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture."

The supporting cast is wonderful, from Walter Slezak as the loyal friend to Margaret Hamilton in a delightful scene, to Finlay Currie, as Mr. Shunderson, practically stealing every scene he is in. Sidney Blackmer, Will Wright and Basil Ruysdael also play pivotal roles.

Much has been written about Cary Grant, more than can be cited in this small review.
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