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The Talk of the Town

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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.

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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

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Dingle, Glenda Farrell, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan
  • Directors: George Stevens
  • Producers: George Stevens
  • 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)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    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: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000083C8K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,646 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Talk of the Town" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By ehakus on July 19, 2002
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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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on February 27, 2003
Format: DVD
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Zeigler on February 27, 2003
Format: DVD
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
In the classic screwball comedy "Talk of the Town," Ronald Colman plays Michael Lightcap, a dry, by-the-book law professor who rents the house of school Nora Shelley, played by Jean Arthur, who happens to be harboring a fugitive from justice, Leopold Dilg, played by Cary Grant. Nora passes off Leopold as her gardener, which confuses Professor Lightcap. Judicial corruption and the wacky ways of American justice are satirized, which is a bit depressing when you realize it is 1942 and already things are pretty sad. As Leopold says at one point: "What is the law? It's a gun pointed at somebody's head. All depends upon which end of the gun you stand, whether the law is just or not." Certainly the idea that the less privileged deserve a fair deal is more popular today than it was then, but you would not say this film is really dated in that regard. All three principles turn in great comic performances. Glenda Farrell plays a woman who helps the professor find the real arsonist, and Edgar Buchanan, Charles Dingle and Emma Dunn all have choice supporting roles to play in the proceedings. The crackling dialogue in the script by Dale Van Every, Irwin Shaw and Sidney Buchman from Sidney Harmon's story is excellent but director George Stevens gets the highest marks, mainly because you do not think of him as doing this type of comedy.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Talk of the Town is a wonderful film that examines practical versus theoretical application of the law. I first rented this film expecting it to be a light comedy, but it does a great job combining comedy with thought provoking discussions of the role of law in society. All three lead actors do a great job maintaining comic and romantic tension in the film, and it is one of Cary Grant's best performances.
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