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Talk of the Town

Cary Grant , Jean Arthur , George Stevens    VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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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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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By J B
Format:VHS Tape
If you don't want to know the ending, read no further.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, at least the first hour and fifty-seven minutes of it. The last minute was the most tragic thing I've seen since A Tale of Two Cities. Why, why, why did Nora go off with a loser like Dilg? Obviously, he was not a man to settle down and behave himself. He didn't even have a vision or dream that made his strangeness admirable. I thought he looked very dark and sinister most of the time and there was absolutely nothing about him that made me want her to end up with him.
Ronald, on the other hand, was everything she needed, and if she was smart, she would have snapped him up. I certainly would have. He was intelligent, stable, and madly in love with her.
Anyway, you get the idea of my feelings about the two main fellers - Nora Shelley was cute, if a little silly at times (and very idiotic in the last couple minutes of the film).
As for the film itself: It was full of great moments. The egg-falling-on-the-newspaper scene was hilarious. The borscht with egg in it was also amusing. It was over all good story, filmed well, told well. I also enjoyed the part when Lightcap was trying to get information out of Miss Bush. He was so artless about it, as well he might be - he probably never went out with a woman before in his life. Which is why he was an awfully stiff dancer, too.
So anyway, I'm sure by now you've figured the little detail that cost my rating of this film one star - JEAN WENT OFF WITH THE WRONG MAN IN THE END!!
I expect this probably isn't the best review ever and that I'll receive lots of flak from Cary Grant fans, and that is O-K. I still like Ronnie better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stars, Great movie! May 28 2004
Format:DVD
This movie includes three of my very favourite movie stars, Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman.
The basic story is that Cary Grant is an innocent prisoner who escapes from prison. He hides out at his friends house (Jean Arthur) because he has been hurt from his escape. He then has to hide from Ronald Colman who is renting the house for the summer. Colman is a Supreme Court candidate. Cary wants to prove his innocence, but instead of hiding away from Colman forever, he pretends he is the gardener. I wont give away the rest.
It really is a fantastic movie. One of the best. The acting is brilliant and with three top stars like these, you couldnt ask for much more. But you do get more! Its directed by one of the greatest, George Stevens.
The print on this DVD is nice too and it has very clear sound throughout the film.
A perfect combination of stars here, and a really great story. Well directed, well written, and one you can watch over and over again.
Highly recommended to anybody who has any taste in movies at all. Brilliant!
PLEASE NOTE: Owner of the Region 2 DVD. However, this one appears to be no different.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The judge, the law and the lynching mob Aug. 19 2003
By Eva25at
Format:VHS Tape
A fire destroys Holmes woolen mills. The foreman is missing, presumed dead. The owner immediately denounces one of his employees of arson: Leopold Dilg (Cary Grant), the one who always makes speeches on street corners. But Dilg escapes before a prejudiced jury can convict him to death penalty. While the manhunt starts he takes refuge with Nora Shelley (Jean Arthur), a high-school teacher on her summer vacation. He causes her quite a trouble, especially since her new tenant, professor Lightcap (Ronald Colman) arrives sooner than expected. Suddenly he appears on her doorstep, complete with his umbrella, derby and dotted scarf, superior, haughty, hard to please...The house is not yet straightened up and he is in a hurry to take possession of his bedroom and get rid of this inefficient woman without delay.
But Nora sees through his formal manners and detects a heart of gold beating in his breast. She invents a disagreement with her mother, and then and there he borrows her his pajamas. Dilg's snoring keeps him awake all night and next morning the policemen who rummage through the house keep him on the go. In Nora's eyes he is in the position to help Dilg who had no fair trial("He's the #1 legal genius in this state"). But Dilg is sceptic. He thinks that "Professor Madcap" is only remotely in touch with reality, and right he is: Lightcap declares grandiloquently that "My business is with the principles of law...I can't get mixed up with those local affairs"). While Nora works on his conscience the scent of breakfast reaches Dilg's nose. He leaves his hiding-place and enters an ideological debate with the professor.
Big news: "The president will be pleased to appoint you to the bench of the supreme court...
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Three-ring circus May 24 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
With Cary Grant playing Leopold Dilg, a man falsely accused of arson, Jean Arthur playing the high school teacher hiding him out in her attic, and Ronald Colman as a college professor and the unaware current tenant of Arthur's charming little house who thinks that Grant is Arthur's gardener, this movie certainly is a three-ring circus!While Nora Shelly(Arthur)and her "gardener" are trying to persuade Michael Lightcap(Colman)of Dilg's innocence the police catch on to the fact that Dilg actually is hidng in her house and come to arrest him. Meanwhile Nora and Professor Lightcap try to protect him and take him to Washington-because Colman has been elected to a seat on the supreme court bench- and on the way there, run in to the man Grant was accused of murdering! As if things weren't
complicated enough already something else they hadn't bargained on is revealed-in the meantime both men have fallen in love with Nora! Well,when at last the truth is revealed and everything settles back down to normal Nora gets her man!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The talk of the town
My husband is a fan of old movies and this one is a classic . We both loved it. It was shipped on time.
Published 15 months ago by Ivy tucker
4.0 out of 5 stars The Talk of The Town!
I saw this movie on TCM, it was on very late and I wound up staying up really late to watch it. It is a good movie and I think Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur were very... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003 by Thebookwoman
4.0 out of 5 stars The Talk of The Town!
I saw this movie on TCM, it was on very late and I wound up staying up really late to watch it. It is a good movie and I think Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur were very... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003 by Thebookwoman
4.0 out of 5 stars Awkward, but charming, political comedy
A manic, mile-a-minute screwball comedy starring Jean Arthur as a sassy, loveable every-gal who has to hide her ne'er-do-well boyfriend (Cary Grant) from the law after he escapes... Read more
Published on May 9 2003 by DJ Joe Sixpack
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing transfer makes for a dismal film experience!
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)... Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2003 by Nix Pix
4.0 out of 5 stars good movie, bad presentation
You need to know a few things before buying the DVD of this very entertaining George Stevens comedy. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2003 by M. Zeigler
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good mix of a serious topic and comedy...
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,... Read more
Published on July 19 2002 by ehakus
5.0 out of 5 stars VINTAGE HOLLYWOOD COMEDY
THE TALK OF THE TOWN manages with equal ease to deal with love and law. As the principal object of love, Jean Arthur unexpectedly finds herself hiding an escaped arsonist in her... Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2001 by "scotsladdie"
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE!!!
This movie is EXCELLENT! It has a little bit of mystery, adventure and A LOT of comedy all wrapped up in one, and is perfect for anyone who is Cary Grant fan. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2001
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