- by Zoë Shaw
Leopold Dilg is wanted for
murder and arson, and persuades the prettiest girl in town, Nora, to hide
him in a house which she has rented to a law school dean (Michael) for the
summer. Michael becomes Dilg's defense lawyer, and they both try to win
- by Lori Felt
Leopold Dilg (CG) an injured escapee from prison, hunted
on a murder and arson charge, persuades Nora Shelly to hide him in the house she has
rented to Mr. Lightcap, an austere law school dean, who plans to spend a quiet summer
writing, in anticipation of a Supreme Court appointment. Lightcap can be compared to a
"quiet librarian who the world does not interrupt", a man who sees things in
black and white and has always hid from the world behind his beard.
Dilg, in the guise as the gardener, and Lightcap become
philosophical adversaries in the reality of the justice system, but manage to develop a mutual friendship in the process. Lightcap is made to see that justice is not always in the
letter of the law, and despite that this might jeopardize his Supreme Court appointment,
he undertakes to be Dilg's champion. As usual someone gets the girl in the end, but just
who is not shown until the final scene.
While Dilg is set on showing the professor that life
according to books is quite different from reality, the character of Nora as a sort of
comic relief steals the show. She is quite charming and fun to watch as Nora has to be
constantly on her toes to keep Dilg's true identity a secret from Lightcap in addition to
preventing the police from finding Dilg.
Film Review - September 24, 1942
- by "Wear"
- submitted by Barry Martin
'Talk of the Town' looks like boxoffice sugar. Another in
the string of semi-serious, whacky comedies patterned after 'Mr.
Deeds Goes to Town' and 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' the
combined lure of Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman will
speak loudly at the wickets.
Story at times tries too hard to
follow the general formula of predecessors. Yet even in its
more flighty, absurd episodes, the sense of comedy always is
retained by director George Stevens. Transition from serious
or melodramatic to the slap-happy and humorous sometimes is a bit
awkward, but in the main it is solid escapist comedy.
Somewhat overboard in length, intelligent pruning of the series of
anti-climaxes would help.
Case of Cary Grant, the outspoken
factory town, soapbox 'anti' worker, being tried for arson and the
death of factory foreman in the blaze, serves as a vehicle to
introduce a pert schoolteacher (Jean Arthur) and a law school dean
(Coleman) in a procession of comedy dissertations on law, in
theory and practice. Plot has Grant escaping before his
trial is completed and seeking refuge in the schoolmarm's home.
This setup is complicated by the
arrival, a day ahead time, of Mike Lightcap, law school dean (Colman),
since he has rented the girl's home for a quiet summer of
writing. Miss Arthur hides the escaped Grant, passing him
off as the gardener. While so masquerading, Grant takes the
law expert over the verbal hurdles by expounding the more
practical concepts of law. Both Grant and his own lawyer,
with the acquiescence of the teacher, attempt to thaw out the
professor after they learn he is about to be nominated to the U.S.
Story doesn't give Grant quite
enough to do, with plenty of meaty lines an situations handed
Colman, who manages the transition from the stuffy professor to a
human being with the least amount of implausibility. Miss
Arthur adds another clear-cut comedy characterization as the
schoolteacher. Support, while not heavy on names, is well
chosen, including solid performances by Edgar Buchanan, Glenda
Farrell and Rex Ingram.
Stevens' direction is topflight for
the most part, exceptions being his tendency to go hokey at
times. Ted Tetzlaff's photography is A-1 all the way; Donald
Starling's montage only so-so.
NEW YORK TIMES Film Review -
August 28, 1942
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
It is more than a passing coincidence that Columbia Pictures,
which made "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," is also the company
responsible for "The Talk of the Town," now at the Music
Hall. For there are several nice points of similarity
between the two remote comedies, not least of which is the fact
that they both entertain delightfully. Leopold Dilg, the
cause célèbre of "The Talk of the Town," may not be
quite as respectable "pixillated" as was Longfellow
Deeds of the former film, and certainly his perilous dilemma is
not so funny as was his predecessor's. But both boys have in
common the unmerited scorn of society; both have to put up a
battle against intolerance and hypocrisy, and both have the
obvious advantage of Jean Arthur in their corners.
Thus, there is ample reason to be
almost as thoroughly pleased with the manner of Leopold Dilg's
salvation as we were with that of Longfellow Deeds. Almost -
but not quite. The one hitch is that Leopold's case becomes
confused by some dubious disputation over the letter versus the
spirit of the law. And the logic of Leopold's contention
that an innocent man, falsely accused, has the right to become
anarchistic is a bit too obscurely professed. The sole
weakness of the picture is that it never presents a clear
But that is a point we won't labor,
for the essential purpose of this take is to amuse with some
devious dilemmas, and that it does right well. This Dilg, it
seems, is a straight guy who doesn't like to be kicked
around. And so, for that, he is framed into a murder charge
by the nabob of a New England town. Well, he breaks out of
prison and seeks shelter in Miss Arthur's house just on the night
that an eminent law professor arrives to rent it for a term.
The professor is a theorist, a bachelor and an appointee to the
Supreme Court. And so the whole problem of the picture is to
get him to spring to Dilg's defense and, once in that groove, to
spring Dilg. A lot of fun and excitement result.
Irwin Shaw and Sidney Buchman wrote
a smart and lively script for the film and George Stevens has
directed it with the slyness of a first-rate comedy man. No
opportunities for comment with the camera have got by Mr. S.
Cary Grant plays Leopold Dilg with a casualness which is slightly
disturbing, but Ronald Colman as the bearded professor is 100
percent Harvard Law. (Cultured, that is.) Miss Arthur
is charming, as usual, in her bewilderment, and Edgar Buchanan,
Glenda Farrell and Rex Ingram are rich in lesser character roles.
"The Talk of the Town" is
going to make a lot of people laugh and feel good. It may be
off beam in its philosophy, but its quality of humor is not
Click here to read
Susanna's review of "Talk
of the Town"
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
this Super Site Dedicated to "Talk of the Town"
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