The Talk of the Town (1942)

117-118 mins | Comedy-drama | 20 August 1942

Director:

George Stevens

Producer:

George Stevens

Cinematographer:

Ted Tetzlaff

Editor:

Otto Meyer

Production Designer:

Lionel Banks

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Three's a Crowd , Mr. Twilight , Justice Winks an Eye and The Gentleman Misbehaves . Although Columbia publicity materials note that Claire Trevor was to play the second female lead in this picture, and a HR production chart places her in the cast, she does not appear in the completed film. According to materials contained in the George Stevens papers at the AMPAS Library, Everett Riskin asked Columbia to credit him as the film's producer, claiming that he had worked with writer Dale Van Every to develop the story and screenplay. Studio head Samuel J. Briskin denied his request on the grounds that his contribution was limited to the development of the story and two drafts of the script and that he did not oversee the production, casting or editing. Briskin also credited Stevens with enlarging the part of "Leopold Dilg" so that it would be suitable for a star of Cary Grant's stature.
       According to pre-release news items in HR , the film originally was two hours and thirty minutes long and the studio considered screening two different endings in sneak previews. In one, "Nora" would be paired with "Dilg", and in the other, she would be coupled with "Lightcap." The audience would then decide on her mate. In all the drafts of the screenplay contained in the Stevens papers, however, the film ends with "Dilg" and "Nora" together, suggesting that only one pairing was ever filmed. Several drafts of the script include an additional scene at the end of the picture, however. In that scene, "Dilg" ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Three's a Crowd , Mr. Twilight , Justice Winks an Eye and The Gentleman Misbehaves . Although Columbia publicity materials note that Claire Trevor was to play the second female lead in this picture, and a HR production chart places her in the cast, she does not appear in the completed film. According to materials contained in the George Stevens papers at the AMPAS Library, Everett Riskin asked Columbia to credit him as the film's producer, claiming that he had worked with writer Dale Van Every to develop the story and screenplay. Studio head Samuel J. Briskin denied his request on the grounds that his contribution was limited to the development of the story and two drafts of the script and that he did not oversee the production, casting or editing. Briskin also credited Stevens with enlarging the part of "Leopold Dilg" so that it would be suitable for a star of Cary Grant's stature.
       According to pre-release news items in HR , the film originally was two hours and thirty minutes long and the studio considered screening two different endings in sneak previews. In one, "Nora" would be paired with "Dilg", and in the other, she would be coupled with "Lightcap." The audience would then decide on her mate. In all the drafts of the screenplay contained in the Stevens papers, however, the film ends with "Dilg" and "Nora" together, suggesting that only one pairing was ever filmed. Several drafts of the script include an additional scene at the end of the picture, however. In that scene, "Dilg" leaves the courthouse followed by "Nora" and proceeds to the town square. When he realizes that the park benches have been removed, he becomes incensed and rallies the crowd to action. This park scene was dropped in the revised final script, dated 27 Jan 1942, eight days after filming began.
       An HR news item adds that Columbia sound chief John Livadary used a track recorded for Only Angels Have Wings (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3283) for the rain scene in this film because he was dissatisfied with the track originally recorded for the scene. Ted Tetzlaff was borrowed from Paramount to photograph this picture. Stevens and Grant had previously worked together on the 1941 Columbia film Penny Serenade (see above). The picture was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Original Story, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing and Best Score. Jean Arthur, Cary Grant and Ronald Colman all reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 17 May 1942. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Aug 1942.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jul 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Jul 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Aug 42
p. 809.
New York Times
28 Aug 42
p. 22.
Variety
29 Jul 42
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Jack Shay
Jack Lowe
Oscar Hendrian
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d Asst dir
3rd Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Props
Props
COSTUMES
Gowns for Miss Arthur
Women's ward
Men's ward
SOUND
Sd eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont eff
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
STAND INS
Stand-in for Jean Arthur
Stand-in for Cary Grant
Stand-in for Ronald Colman
Stand-in for Edgar Buchanan
Stand-in for Emma Dunn
Stand-in for Rex Ingram
Stand-in for Leonid Kinskey
Stand-in for Ferike Boros
Stand-in for George Watts
Stand-in for Glenda Farrell
Stunt double for Cary Grant
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Three's a Crowd
Mr. Twilight
The Gentleman Misbehaves
Release Date:
20 August 1942
Production Date:
19 January--8 April 1942
addl scenes 18 April, 20 April and 25 April 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
22 July 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11797
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
117-118
Length(in feet):
10,661
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

When a fire destroys his mill and kills foreman Clyde Bracken, mill owner Andrew Holmes accuses rabble rouser Leopold Dilg of arson. After he is indicted for arson and murder, Dilg, certain that he will be convicted, overpowers a guard one rainy night and escapes from his cell. Pursued by the police, Dilg seeks refuge in an unoccupied cottage owned by schoolteacher Nora Shelley and her mother. Nora is alone at the house, busily preparing it for the arrival of her summer tenant, law school dean Michael Lightcap, who is looking forward to writing his new law treatise in the solitude of the Sweetbrook house. Suffering from an injured ankle, friendless and unjustly accused, Dilg breaks into the house and pleads for Nora's help. When Lightcap arrives, one day ahead of schedule, Nora hides Dilg in the attic, and after showing the professor around the house, she pretends to leave. Instead, Nora sneaks into the attic, and when Lightcap finds her slinking through the hallway, she claims that she has had a fight with her mother and asks to spend the night. The next morning, Nora's mother pounds at the door, looking for her errant daughter. She is followed by reporter Donald Forrester, who is seeking Lightcap's opinion on the Dilg case, and Dilg's attorney, Sam Yates, who has been summoned by Nora. When Yates, a former classmate of Lightcap's, declares that his client has been framed and asks for Lightcap's help, the professor avers that his interest is in the principle of the law and not in local squabbles. After Yates leaves, Nora runs after him and informs him ... +


When a fire destroys his mill and kills foreman Clyde Bracken, mill owner Andrew Holmes accuses rabble rouser Leopold Dilg of arson. After he is indicted for arson and murder, Dilg, certain that he will be convicted, overpowers a guard one rainy night and escapes from his cell. Pursued by the police, Dilg seeks refuge in an unoccupied cottage owned by schoolteacher Nora Shelley and her mother. Nora is alone at the house, busily preparing it for the arrival of her summer tenant, law school dean Michael Lightcap, who is looking forward to writing his new law treatise in the solitude of the Sweetbrook house. Suffering from an injured ankle, friendless and unjustly accused, Dilg breaks into the house and pleads for Nora's help. When Lightcap arrives, one day ahead of schedule, Nora hides Dilg in the attic, and after showing the professor around the house, she pretends to leave. Instead, Nora sneaks into the attic, and when Lightcap finds her slinking through the hallway, she claims that she has had a fight with her mother and asks to spend the night. The next morning, Nora's mother pounds at the door, looking for her errant daughter. She is followed by reporter Donald Forrester, who is seeking Lightcap's opinion on the Dilg case, and Dilg's attorney, Sam Yates, who has been summoned by Nora. When Yates, a former classmate of Lightcap's, declares that his client has been framed and asks for Lightcap's help, the professor avers that his interest is in the principle of the law and not in local squabbles. After Yates leaves, Nora runs after him and informs him that his client is hiding in her attic. When Yates encourages Nora to allow Dilg to hide there, she realizes that she must also remain in the house and convinces Lightcap to hire her as his cook and secretary until his valet arrives. As Lightcap dictates his sterile theories to Nora, Dilg sneaks into the kitchen, looking for something to eat. When he overhears Lightcap expounding his legal principles, Dilg brazenly steps into the room and criticizes the professor's view of the law as too abstract and idealized. Shocked at the intrusion, Nora introduces Dilg as her gardener, Joseph. Soon after, Senator James Boyd arrives with news that in the fall the President intends to appoint Lightcap to the Supreme Court. Believing that Lightcap's approach to the law is too theoretical, Dilg decides to "thaw him out" by involving the professor in his own case. At breakfast the next morning, Dilg discusses the political corruption that permeates Sweetbrook and then suggests that Nora accompany Lightcap to a local baseball game. At the game, Lightcap meets Judge Grunstadt and is shocked when the judge boasts that he has formed his opinion of Dilg's case without hearing all the evidence. Lightcap begins to admire Dilg's intelligence, but when Dilg challenges him to act against the judge, he refuses. Later, Holmes, the mill owner, campaigns to incite mob violence against the missing Dilg, so Dilg arranges for Nora to escort Lightcap downtown to the factory so that he can witness Holmes's tactics. While passing Dilg's favorite borscht shop, Lightcap, who has grown quite fond of his adversarial gardener, steps in to buy him some soup. When Lightcap makes the unusual request of adding an egg to the broth, the shop's proprietor, Jan Pulaski, realizes that the soup is destined for Dilg, the only person to ask for the added egg, and decides to follow Nora and the professor. At the factory gates, Lightcap meets Holmes, who is in the midst of introducing the crowd to Regina Bush, the grieving sweetheart of arson victim Clyde Bracken. After Nora and the professor leave the factory, Pulaski follows them back to the house and then informs the police. At dinner that night, Lightcap presents the borscht to Dilg, and when he unwraps the newspaper protecting the bottle, he sees a photograph of Dilg on the front page. Asserting that it is his duty to notify the police, Lightcap reaches for the phone, but Dilg knocks him out just as the squad cars, acting on Pulaski's information, arrive. After Dilg escapes, the police interrogate Nora and Lightcap, and although the professor is furious with Nora for involving him in Dilg's predicament, he helps her by lying that he bought the borscht for himself and that he had never seen Dilg before that day. Agitated, Lightcap visits Yates and when the lawyer shows him a fire inspection certificate signed by Bracken, the professor begins to suspect that something is amiss. Deciding to conduct his own investigation, Lightcap shaves off his beard and goes to Regina's beauty parlor for a manicure. Regina fails to recognize the now beardless Lightcap, and when she begins to flirt with him, he invites her to go dancing. Later Regina shows Lightcap a letter she received from Bracken and admits that the foreman is living in Boston. As Lightcap dances with Miss Bush, Nora, who has been searching for Dilg, realizes that he must be hiding at the house and goes to find him. Upon returning home from his date, Lightcap informs Nora that Bracken is in Boston and proposes depositing Dilg at the police station while they drive to Boston to search for Bracken. Lightcap changes his mind, however, when he learns from a police officer that the department intends to turn Dilg over to the crowd as soon as he is captured. Taking the law into his own hands, Lightcap proceeds to Boston, where he and Dilg confront Bracken when he comes to pick up his mail at the post office. After forcing Bracken to confess that he and Holmes set fire to the factory to collect the insurance, they all drive back to Sweetbrook. When Dilg insists on escorting Bracken to city hall to spare Lightcap from scandal, the two begin to argue again, and in the confusion, Bracken knocks out his captors and escapes. After the police arrest Dilg, the senator warns Lightcap to drop the case. Instead, Lightcap picks up a gun, breaks his way into Regina's beauty shop and apprehends Bracken. As the mob swarms into Dilg's hearing at the courthouse, Lightcap appears, fires his gun, produces Bracken and admonishes the crowd to uphold the law. After Dilg is exonerated, Lightcap is appointed to the Supreme Court, and Nora travels to Washington to see his opening session. Before taking his seat on the bench, Lightcap advises Nora to marry Dilg. In the courtroom, Nora spies Dilg in the audience and winks at Lightcap. Dilg thinks that she is in love with the judge and leaves, but Nora follows him. When Dilg urges her to marry Lightcap, she kisses him, and he grabs her wrist and yanks her out of the courthouse. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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