Talk of the Town

****

The Talk of the Town-nfHow was the country diverting itself from heart wrenching reports from the battle front of early World War II ? Going to the movies was one way and in 1942 that might mean seeing this movie, which was nominated for 6 Academy awards including Best Picture. Leopold Dilg (Cary Grant) is being accused of burning down the town factory when all he did was speak out against the bad conditions there. Professor Michael Lightcap (Ronald Coleman), a legal scholar who is destined for the Supreme Court, happens to be in town and is planning to rent Miss Nora Shelley’s (Jean Arthur)  house where Dilg is hiding out after he broke out of jail when he realized he wasn’t going to get a fair trial since the owner of the factory (who it turns out arranged the fire) has turned the local town into a blood thirsty mob out for Dilg. At first it looks like it is going to be light  comedy with hiding, close calls, police and blood hounds almost catching the fugitive and then it seems to be turning into a law and order theme. When Dilg pretends he is Joseph the gardener, he and Lightcap actually get to know each other and really like each other. In  fact, these two men have a strong bonding as did Lightcap and his black man servant (Rex Ingram) who shed a few tears when his boss was going to shave his beard. As touching as this man to man stuff may have been, it is clear that the real romantic feelings are coming from Miss Shelley (attractive loveable wide-eyed Arthur). She   is falling in love but it really isn’t clear which of these leading men it might be with. The finale of the movie while somewhat overly dramatic has s a moving speech by Lightcap (as Coleman really gets into it) and he emotionally reminds everyone about the American form of justice (and without saying it is reminding everyone in the audience about one of the reason that we were fighting the war). There was the final touch where we almost don’t know who Miss Shelley is going to end up with (could this be the first time Cary Grant doesn’t win the girl?) and all ends well.(1942)

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