Caftan Woman

Caftan Woman

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

THE CARY GRANT BLOGATHON: The Talk of the Town (1942)



An idea whose time has come! Phyllis Loves Classic Movies is hosting The Cary Grant Blogathon from November 29th to December 1st:  Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3

Nora Shelley played by Jean Arthur is the prettiest little schoolteacher ever to grace a 1942 comedy/drama.  Nora Shelley also owns the prettiest little out of the way cottage for rent.  The renter for the summer is Professor Michael Lightcap played by Ronald Colman.  Lightcap is a noted law professor who has a lot on his mind.  He is writing a book and he is in line for an appointment to the Supreme Court.  The professor has lived a musty life of theories and books.  His eyes are about to be opened to what is around him. How can it not be, living in a pretty little cottage owned by a pretty little schoolteacher? A schoolteacher with a fugitive for a friend.



Leopold:  "Stop saying "Leopold" like that, tenderly. It sounds funny. You can't do it with a name like Leopold."

Cary Grant plays Leopold Dilg, a natural born agitator who has been accused of arson and murder.  His innocence is no matter to the business and political forces poised against him, but they do matter to Nora Shelley.  She allows Dilg to stay at her cottage in the guise of a gardener.  The professor and the malcontent duke it out in the fields of politics, law and romance.



Leopold:  "With these indoor habits of yours, you've got the complexion of a gravel pit."

Michael:  "You know, Joseph, you're no oil painting yourself."

George Stevens' The Talk of the Town was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best screenplay by Irwin Shaw and Sidney Buchman, Best Original Story by Sidney Harmon, Best Black and White Cinematography by Ted Tetzlaff, Best Art Direction, Editing and Scoring.  The film won not one of those categories, but it is sure to win you as a fan if this is your first time viewing the picture.

A romantic comedy that features political discussions?  How would that work?  It works just fine.  The ideas put forth are the timeless ideas that all generations grapple with and the actors presenting these thoughts are pure class.  Cary Grant and Ronald Colman are more versatile than their images project.  Grant's work with George Stevens alone is testament to his skill.  The 1939 adventure classic Gunga Din, the sentimental Christmas favourite from 1941 Penny Serenade and this outstanding feature are films to point to with pride.



Michael:  "Miss Bush, I wonder if I might have the pleasure of taking you dancing tonight?"

Regina:  "The pleasure! Well, say now, that's really something. I don't know what to say. It takes my breath away. Why, you're real cute. Listen, you blow your horn at seven tonight, right outside, Sonny."

The Talk of the Town features many delights in its supporting cast.  Edgar Buchanan is the sly and, possibly the smartest man in the room, as Sam Yates.  Rex Ingram, playing beyond his years, is the professor's devoted servant Tilney.  Devotion is a difficult thing to play, but Ingram was a master of his craft.  Glenda Farrell outrageously steals her scene as a manicurist with knowledge that can save the beleaguered Dilg.  The shy Professor Lightcap's attempted seduction of the lady is something worth watching over and over again.



Leopold:  "Well, it's a form of self expression. Some people write books. Some people write music. I make speeches on street corners."

Back to pretty schoolteacher Nora Shelly.  She has to choose between Cary Grant and Ronald Colman.  What would you do?  Watch the movie and you'll spend delectable years mulling over that conundrum.






19 comments:

  1. That is a hard choice - choosing between Ronald Colman and Cary Grant! I really need to see this again. I remember who I was rooting for last time I saw it...it will be interesting to see if that remains the same or not. :)

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    1. Yes, indeed. I think our choice is a true barometer of where we are when we watch The Talk of the Town.

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  2. Back when romantic comedies could get nominated for Best Picture without it seeming unusual...

    I think I may have seen this but I'm not sure. Grant's character sounds vaguely familiar.

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    1. True. I recall your look at the phenomenon. You talk sense. It's "the talk of the town". Ha!

      Grant's vaguely familiar character had a penchant for borscht, with an egg in it. I bet that tweaks your memory a bit. Not something you hear in your average, run-of-the-mill flick.

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  3. I saw this film a long, long time ago with my grandmother (who, like all of us, loves Cary Grant) and remember only the chemistry between Grant and Arthur. I had no idea it was such a contender when it time for the Oscars! Will definitely have to revisit this one.

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    1. It is a very smart movie, as well as a charmingly funny one. I know I have appreciated it for different aspects at different times in my life. Definitely a re-watch you will be happy about.

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  4. I've wanted to see this movie for a long time. Or better: I've wanted to see Cary Grant's whole filmography for a whole time! Very good review.
    And know that I'm always thinking of you and rooting that you get better. It's precious to have your friendship and support in the classic film blogging world.
    Kisses!

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    1. Thank you, my friend.

      I know this is a movie that you will truly appreciate and maybe come to love.

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  5. I can't believe that I haven't seen this movie, but after reading your great post, I will have to make it a top priority. Thanks for doing this one.

    I also invite you to read my contribution to the blogathon

    https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/the-magic-of-kate-and-cary/

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    1. I believe The Talk of the Town is destined to make your "favourites" list.

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  6. I ADORE this movie. I remember five years ago reading a book by Peter Bogdanovich and his praise for this film intrigued me so much that I waited breathlessly for TCM to show it. Watching it, I was on the edge of my seat wondering who Jean Arthur would pick. I think that's what I find most interesting about this movie. Usually in cinematic love triangles, it's clear that one of the choices would be wrong, but here, they are so evenly matched.

    Nice post!

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    1. This movie practically defines classic, doesn't it? It has brains, hearts and laughs. We couldn't ask for anything more.

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  7. I've been wanting some comedy recs to recover from end-of-semester stress, and what a joy to find this one and such a compelling review. Thank you.

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    1. The right movie comes into your life at the right time. That's how the movie universe works and we are cogs in the big wheel.

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  8. Wow! What a lot of nominations!! This is a more unusual role to me for Grant and was my first Colman film (of whom I still haven't watched nearly enough of). I'm always getting the title of this film mixed up with another one ;)

    Thanks for participating!!

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    1. Aha, I think we have the same problem. I used to confuse The Talk of the Town with The Whole Town's Talking. Now that I have written posts on both movies I wonder if I'll still have the same problem. Probably.

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  9. Well, here's ANOTHER Cary Grant film going on my must-watch list! This sounds so unusual and delightful! Thanks for the great review.

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    1. My pleasure. I know you will find it fascinating, thought-provoking and entertaining.

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