The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

93 or 95 mins | Comedy | 22 February 1935

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Jail Breaker and Passport to Fame . Some contemporary reviews mention a scene between Manion and Jones's Aunt Agatha, that was apparently deleted in later prints. Edward G. Robinson was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the film. The Var review predicted that this film would be a turning point in Robinson's career, which had been foundering after box office failures. Other reviews concurred with that estimation and modern sources note that the success of The Whole Town's Talking did restore Robinson's career. According to modern sources, prison footage was taken from Columbia's film The Criminal Code (see ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Jail Breaker and Passport to Fame . Some contemporary reviews mention a scene between Manion and Jones's Aunt Agatha, that was apparently deleted in later prints. Edward G. Robinson was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the film. The Var review predicted that this film would be a turning point in Robinson's career, which had been foundering after box office failures. Other reviews concurred with that estimation and modern sources note that the success of The Whole Town's Talking did restore Robinson's career. According to modern sources, prison footage was taken from Columbia's film The Criminal Code (see above). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Sep 34
p. 7.
Daily Variety
24 Oct 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
11 Dec 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Feb 35
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 34
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 35
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
18 Jan 35
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Nov 34
p. 47.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Jan 35
pp. 42-43.
MPSI
1 Apr 35
p. 14.
New York Times
1 Mar 35
p. 16.
New York Times
14 Apr 35
p. 3.
Time
11 Mar 35
p. 52.
Variety
6 Mar 35
p. 20.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Robert Emmett O'Connor
Ralph M. Remley
Don Brody
Robert E. Homans
William L. Thorne
Ethan A. Laidlaw
Eddie Hearn
Dutch "O. G." Hendrian
Carol Holloway
Allen Caven
Bernadine Hayes
Jack C. Grey
Edwin J. Brady
Gordon DeMain
Ernest F. Young
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Ford Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Second asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
2d cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
Microphone
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr clerk
Elec
Props
Doorman
STAND INS
Stand-in for Edward G. Robinson
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the story "Jail Breaker" by W. R. Burnett in Collier's (Jul--Aug 1932).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Jail Breaker
Passport to Fame
Release Date:
22 February 1935
Production Date:
24 October--11 December 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 February 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5323
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93 or 95
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
568
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Arthur Ferguson Jones is late for his job as an advertising clerk for the first time in his life, just as he was about to be given a raise in salary by his bosses, Seaver and J. G. Carpenter. While Jones's contrition enables him to retain his position, the unrepetant attitude of another late employee, Wilhemina "Bill" Clark, the object of Jones's unspoken love, causes her to be fired. She points out to the staff the resemblance between a picture in the newspaper of the escaped convict "Killer" Manion and Jones. While Jones lunches at a restaurant, the obsequious Hoyt also notices the similarity and turns Jones over to the police in expectation of a reward. Seaver establishes Jones's identity, but to protect him from another mistaken arrest, he is given a special passport to show wary policemen. Back at the office, "J. G." encourages Jones, an aspiring writer, to sign a deal with newspaperman Healy to author a special serial on his own appraisal of Manion. The three men get drunk together, and Jones later kisses the thrilled Clark and orders Seaver to put her back on the payroll. However, Manion waits for Jones at his apartment and demands the use of the passport at night to protect him during criminal undertakings. Although for the first time in Jones's life everyone is deferential toward him, and Clark affectionately asserts control over his career, Jones lives in perpetual fear of Manion. The publicity-seeking criminal demands that Jones's newspaper series be turned into his reminiscences, which raises the suspicion of authorities. Clark innocently visits Jones's apartment and does not recognize ... +


Arthur Ferguson Jones is late for his job as an advertising clerk for the first time in his life, just as he was about to be given a raise in salary by his bosses, Seaver and J. G. Carpenter. While Jones's contrition enables him to retain his position, the unrepetant attitude of another late employee, Wilhemina "Bill" Clark, the object of Jones's unspoken love, causes her to be fired. She points out to the staff the resemblance between a picture in the newspaper of the escaped convict "Killer" Manion and Jones. While Jones lunches at a restaurant, the obsequious Hoyt also notices the similarity and turns Jones over to the police in expectation of a reward. Seaver establishes Jones's identity, but to protect him from another mistaken arrest, he is given a special passport to show wary policemen. Back at the office, "J. G." encourages Jones, an aspiring writer, to sign a deal with newspaperman Healy to author a special serial on his own appraisal of Manion. The three men get drunk together, and Jones later kisses the thrilled Clark and orders Seaver to put her back on the payroll. However, Manion waits for Jones at his apartment and demands the use of the passport at night to protect him during criminal undertakings. Although for the first time in Jones's life everyone is deferential toward him, and Clark affectionately asserts control over his career, Jones lives in perpetual fear of Manion. The publicity-seeking criminal demands that Jones's newspaper series be turned into his reminiscences, which raises the suspicion of authorities. Clark innocently visits Jones's apartment and does not recognize Manion until it is too late. The district attorney orders that Jones be placed under protective custody in prison, but Manion takes Jones's place to kill fellow gangster, "Slugs" Martin, who turned stool pigeon on him. After the murder of Martin and the release of the supposed Jones, the disappearance of Seaver and Clark tips off authorities to the true state of affairs. Manion plans to have Jones killed in a police ambush to convince them that Manion is dead. However, Jones forgets his wallet and returns prematurely to the hideout while Manion is with a girl friend. The gangsters unintentionally reveal to Jones his fate, and when Manion returns, Jones, who had passed up an earlier opportunity to murder Manion, accepts their offer to shoot the man they believe is Jones but is really Manion. Jones then grabs a machine gun, locks up the criminals, and frees their prisoners, Seaver, Clark, and Jones's nagging Aunt Agatha. Meanwhile the persistent Hoyt, still trailing Jones in the belief that he is Manion, has summoned the police just in time. Jones and Clark marry and take his long hoped-for trip to Shanghai. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.