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The Talk of the Town (1942)

Cary Grant , Jean Arthur , George Stevens  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan, Glenda Farrell
  • Directors: George Stevens
  • Writers: Dale Van Every, Irwin Shaw, Sidney Buchman, Sidney Harmon
  • Producers: George Stevens, Fred Guiol
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Japanese, Georgian
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000083C8K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,572 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Talk of the Town" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When a charming fugitive, a beautiful teacher, and a stuffy lawyer are forced to become roommates, their unconventional relationship is suddenly THE TALK OF THE TOWN in this madcap romantic comedy. When accused arsonist Leopold Dilg (Cary Grant) escapes jail, he hides out in the home of friend Nora(Jean Arthur). Posing as a gardener, Dilg teams up with Nora to convince her summer tenant, SupremeCourt candidate Michael Lightcap (Ronald Colman, Lost Horizon) that Dilg was framed. The zaniness never stops as the three of them dodge the cops, try to snag the real crooks and discover along the way that both men have fallen for Nora. But who has captured Nora's heart? Find out with THE TALK OF THE TOWN, a sparkling gem from Hollywood's Golden Age of Comedy, nominated for seven Academy Awards(r)including Best Picture.

The screwball comedy was the definitive genre of the Depression, but as America edged toward war in the early '40s, it suffered some strange and wonderful mutations--none stranger than The Talk of the Town, directed by George Stevens from a script by novelist Irwin Shaw and frequent Capra collaborator (and future blacklist victim) Sidney Buchman. Cary Grant, awkwardly cast, is a small-town political agitator who is framed for the burning of a local factory; he takes refuge in the attic of a country cottage that landlady Jean Arthur is preparing to rent out to a celebrated law professor (silver-tongued Ronald Colman, perhaps the only actor in Hollywood who could make Grant look like a proletarian). Stevens, suspended between his light '30s style (Swing Time) and his heavy postwar manner (A Place in the Sun), struggles to balance a charming, surprisingly suspenseful romantic triangle with the heavy, debating-society tone of the screenplay, which pits Grant, the representative of a compassionate, emotional sense of justice, against the cool, abstract application of the law advocated by Colman. Caught between these two highly verbal characters, Jean Arthur doesn't have much to do but be adorable and provide the occasional quizzical reaction shot--two things she does with exquisite skill. Stevens and Arthur teamed up again one year later for another strange-bedfellows farce, the marvelous The More the Merrier; in 1953 Arthur made her final film appearance in Stevens's Shane. --Dave Kehr

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good mix of a serious topic and comedy... July 19, 2002
By ehakus
Format:VHS Tape
Sometimes I am tempted to describe this movie as having split personality disorder. On one level, it seems to be a lighthearted comedy with a love triangle between Cary Grant, Ronald Coleman, and Jean Arthur. And on another level, it aims to deal with deeper issues like the role of the law in society, etc, etc. But, actually, I think a more accurate way to describe this movie would be as a late screwball comedy. During the WWII years, screwball comedy, which had been so carefree in the depression, began to take on more serious issues, leading to movies like this one - strange mixes of the screwball spirit and deeper concerns.
Regardless of its strange synthesis of screwball and serious issues, however, The Talk of the Town is a classic, and a great movie! Essentially, it is about a small town rebel (Cary Grant, in an uncharacteristic role) who escapes from prision after being wrongly accused of arson and murder. He comes across a former friend (Jean Arthur) and stays with her, posing as the gardener when a law professor (Ronald Coleman) comes to rent her house. There are many hilarious situations in the house, but the movie also discussed the role of the law in society and whether law should be interpreted coldly and to the letter or have a more personal application.
The acting is very good. Cary Grant, though in a strange role, proves his talent as a more dramatic actor (and also shows off his incredible comedic skills). Even though he was ignored by the Oscars for years, Grant really was a spectacular actor - he just wasn't given enough credit because he tended to make it all look so easy. Ronald Coleman is also good as his urbane, cold rival, and Jean Arthur is great - her reactions steal scene after scene!
Anyhow, this movie is very good. Although it is somewhat of a strange mix, it is quite enjoyable and typical of the semi-screwball comedies from the war years. Get this and enjoy!
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
By Nix Pix
Columbia Pictures has regressed in their shoddy film transfers of catalogue titles with this DVD. The film, a great screwball adventure that pits a prison escapee (Cary Grant) against a stuffy law professor (Ronald Colman) is about as witty, charming and utterly engaging as one could hope for. Resident studio do-gooder, Jean Arthur is a treat as the woman whose love for the two men is brought to hilarious fruition. As a film, it's five stars all the way! But the DVD is a thoroughly miserable experience with excessive film grain, fine detail shimmering, aliasing problems and varying degrees of stock footage used in the transfer. The hi-def packaging is also deceptive. * Note: the phrasing "remastered in hi-def" means nothing unless the source elements have first been cleaned up. Let the buyer beware! Over all, a mediocre experience. Wait for Criterion to get their hands on it or Columbia to come to its senses and do a restoration.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good movie, bad presentation February 27, 2003
You need to know a few things before buying the DVD of this very entertaining George Stevens comedy. One, it's not really a 'screwball' comedy, so if you're expecting outrageous hijinks like Bringing Up Baby, or The Awful Truth you might be a little disappointed. In tone it's very much in line with the films of Frank Capra or George Steven's own The More the Merrier, another great film starring the seriously under appreciated Jean Arthur. The second thing you should know, is that Columbia aka Sony has done very little to warrant the $... list price for the DVD. Picture quality is poor and they have the nerve to charge this much money for a pan and scan version of a 60 yr old film with no extras. It's really disgraceful and disrespectful of Sony to do this to film lovers... (though the list price is five dollars less than Talk of the Town, it's still too much for a great film that's desperately in need of restoration) So in short, a very entertaining film in a very cheesy presentation.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leave the flowers where they are December 12, 2004
Cary Grant is an innocently accused prison escapee, Ronald Coleman is a stodgy law professor escaping to the country for a little peace and quiet, and Jean Arthur is the woman in the middle.

A little too grounded and deliberately paced to qualify as a screwball comedy, a little too dark and brooding to support the froth of a light comedy, THE TALK OF THE TOWN is pretty much carried on the charismatic shoulders of its three lead stars.

It's a fruitless game trying to piece out a director's intentions, but George Stevens seemed to be striving for comedy with substance here. The opening scenes are very well done - Grant in a prison cell, Grant manhandling a guard through the bars of his cell and escaping into a stormy night. Tight close-ups on Grant's dark and evil eyes.

It's a great set up for a turgid crime melodrama. But the weather clears, Jean Arthur hides him and Coleman arrives. The gag is that Coleman doesn't know who he is, and Grant needs the jurist's help to clear his name.

THE TALK OF THE TOWN never really finds its comedy footings after that first scene. It works hard to do so, but the moody understory - the threat of mob violence if Grant is returned to jail - doesn't help much to lighten the mood. Nor does Edgar Buchanan, here Grant's lawyer convinced of his innocence, contribute what he's capable of. Most screwball comedies benefit from their colorful secondary characters, but Buchanan, a capable comedic actor, is wasted here. Director Stevens seems more interested in the blossoming friendship between Grant and Coleman as they prattle on and on in argument over Ideal and Practical Justice.

Stars can carry a story, and on that basis I recommend TALK OF THE TOWN. Certainly not as a screwball comedy, or really much of a comedy at all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Three of my favorite actors together in a comedy
Three of my favorite actors together in a comedy, can't get better than that. Social positions, the meaning of the law and justice get twisted around and the truth comes out in the... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Pat Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My wife and I enjoyed it.
Published 17 days ago by Oscar Herrman
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for Cary Grant and/or Jean Arthur fans. Incredibly funny.
Serious storyline but so very funny. Cary Grant again at his best with the wonderful Jean Arthur. This is a delightfully funny movie. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JCCURT
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Nice combo of Grant, Arthur and Coleman
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars old movies like these spoil you wiith the newer movies
Can't miss wtih these 3 stars, old movies like these spoil you wiith the newer movies. It's fast paced, clever and doesn't disappoint.
Published 1 month ago by Christmas Time
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and Far From Shallow
This comedy thriller does not fail to please. The cast is superb, and the acting is spot-on. Cary Grant is wonderful as the fugitive from justice. Read more
Published 2 months ago by God's Girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 2 months ago by Virgil Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best ever!
What a great movie with a great cast. One of the best movies of them all.
Published 2 months ago by Charles M. Cottle
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be overlooked
Hilarious vehicle for both Colman and Grant. Many misadventures and misunderstandings typical of the mad-cap comedy genre but with more substance under the surface than would be... Read more
Published 3 months ago by S. H. Jolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Was very disappointed in the movie and stars
Not crazy about this movie. Was very disappointed in the movie and stars.
Published 3 months ago by B. Pokladnik
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