People Will Talk - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

People Will Talk Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2015
An unusual Grant film, as he plays an unorthodox doctor (one who cares about his patients with a capital "C"), filled less with comedy than with preaching. And talk about implausible, the work is ripe with unbelievable actions, unbelievable motivations, unbelievable conclusions. In point of fact only the presence of Grant allows this tripe any hearing time at all. And the film is well aware of that fact.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2013
A doctor treats and loves a pregnant woman amid scandals about the morality of his past.
Predictable but charming, Joseph L. Mankiewicz once again proves why he's one of my favorite classic directors. His stories are tightly constructed, and the performances by his actors are always fun but with a kind of depth that many directors of his time weren't able to manage. Cary Grant, the great gentleman of classic film, is alternatively charming and petulant, able to convey a strength of character that is absent in present-day movie stars.
I would have liked the film to be more morally ambiguous. The entire question of the film is whether or not Grant's character harbor some deep, black secret (as though one could be such a question on Grant), and by the time we realize he's as pure as he purports to be, it's like we been shown a box that contains a treasure, but once the box is opened, we discover it's only a scrap of paper reading, "Fooled you."
Overall, I enjoyed People Will Talk, but the compelling story is not flawless.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2012
A film that is less about the comedic prowess of the incomparable Cary Grant or even about the semblance of a plot, and more of a political and moral tale that addresses very little and pushes the envelope for its time. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz pulls some truly rash decisions in writing the dialogue for this film, in times being cute and full of genuine humor and at others being obviously and obnoxiously interested in singular political dealings. Grant is usually either a debonair action hero, sweet tempered authority figure, or a romantic lead. He has many faces, many characters that flourish from witty scripts and beautiful leading ladies. Here his character is so flat and uninteresting that there is little to hold on to. He is depicted as a doctor and professor who cares for people and...that seems to be it. He's good. That is his sole characteristic, and he plays it to the best of his wholesome ability. Pair that with the situation of an unmarried young woman who he falls in love with and you would think there would be calamity, chaos, and comedy throughout. Instead it's this long paced, overwrought piece of American influence, rather than a film about anything that really matters. The chemistry between Grant and Crain is basically nonexistent. He pities her, they have a couple of trite conversations and he secretly, quietly marries her. The rest of the film is killing time to build the ending up to a gravitas level. The ending itself is also long and makes little sense to the rest of the film. It's just as pointless and self indulgent as the rest, though it references back to the beginning with a conservative professor who tries to foil him which goes nowhere. Though it is slow and overtly heavyhanded, some of the supporting characters are quite quirky and eccentric, but it's not a film that finds its humor in wit or even pratfalls but built up oddities and humorless storytelling. The entire point of the film or even its moral is lost or nonexistent. There is very little to enjoy in this except another goofy Grant performance where he lets himself become childlike in front of the camera. Still, it's little consolation for a life lesson that was unwanted to begin with.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
A very touching drama and a funny comedy. Plus is stars Cary Grant in another great humorous role. I liked this movie, and if you're a fan of Grant, you'll like it too.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2010
What a bizarre film. No, really. The first time I tried to watch it, I gave up about 30 minutes in. I tried again and got through it but was man, it was strange. This is most certainly NOT a romantic comedy of any kind and there is a kind of split interest going on here, Grant's relationship with Crain and Grant's relationship with Currie, something I could never quite figure out, either. In the end, I'm not even sure I really *liked* it as a film, but it was still well done in terms of storytelling. Strange.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2009
Delightfully off-beat Cary Grant comedy that's a little risque and completely unpredictable. Anyone who tells you that they saw this ending coming is either psychic or lying through their teeth.
Super Reviewer
February 10, 2013
People Will Talk is a hysterical film, filled with wit and ingenious puns throughout. The screenplay by Mankiewicz ( who also directed the film) was filled with great dialogue. I wasn't only looking forward to what would happen next, but what would be said next. Dr. Praetorius is a new favorite character of mine, and as the epilogue suggests I wish he did exist, if he didn't of course. My favorite scene of the film was the train set. The miscommunication and childishness of it all brought loads of laughter. The informal trial scene was the second that stood out, and was a touching but still quirky scene. I loved this film, classy comedy and should get more recognition than it does.
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2009
Don't be fooled by the title,this is not a romantic comedy. I was surprised at how serious and enjoyable this film was. I love Cary Grant and was really surprised how original and against type his performance was. He is flawless in this and it's probably one of his best roles. The screenplay is one of Mankiewicz best and I was shocked that the subject matter was produced in 1951. It is about a genius doctor who meets,falls in love and marries a suicidal woman who is pregnant from another man. At the same time Grant in being investigated by the university for a secret past and mystery man who doesn't leave his side(played by perfection by Finley Currie). The performances are A+ and the script is something I have never seen before.Grant and Crain fall in love a little too easily, but it is still believable and they are great together. Hume Cronyn is great as a jealous weaselly bad guy, and after watching Brute Force you really see what a great actor he was. This film should be shown in every screen writing class, it is filled with unorthodoxed scenes, original characters, and some of the best dialogue in a film from that era. A must see and possibly a 5 star film if the love didn't happen too quickly,followed by conventional courtroom scenes at the end.
October 14, 2014
A strange morality tale about...doctors treating patients well??? The film tries to take some big moral stance on something that seems unneeded. I guess it's a stance of science vs. superstition, but it's mostly handled so heavy-handed that it really weights down the movie. Cary Grant is fine, he's actually rather convincing as a doctor. The "love story" is very weak, never felt that they had anything romantic going on until the discovery that she was pregnant. Definitely lesser Cary Grant (and Joseph L. Mankiewicz).
May 1, 2009
This film pairs Grant with Jeanne Crain. Yet another 'adult theme' of the time that Grant's trustworthy style or personality he always seems to project makes him perfect for the role. It is probably what he was often chosen for such roles. Anyone elase would have been too innocent or too corrupt to make the story 'acceptable'.
½ September 28, 2008
a very intelligently written dramatic comedy. Cary Grant brings all his usual charm into a role that could be compared to a subtler, suaver Patch Adams. daring but not all-together cohesive scriptwriting, solid acting, and an endearing ending. a little off-the-mark and under-the-radar, but a pretty decent film nonetheless.
December 27, 2007
Considering the material, this is a very daring movie for the times. But it is very well played out by the cast. Well done.
July 4, 2015
The script is superior, especially the scripts today with wearingly overuse of the f world
½ June 22, 2015
World class Cary Grant and world class Joseph M. Mankiewicz
½ June 20, 2015
You've got the wrong frog.

Doctor Noah Praetorius is a physician that falls in love with a woman who one day falls on his doorstep. She is pregnant by an ex-boyfriend she wants nothing to do with. She also comes from a very unique family, background, and living situation. He also becomes under investigation by the hospital board. The doctor tries to balance his personal and professional life.

"Never look a gift horse in the mouse."
"I never look any horse in the mouth."

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, director of Guys and Dolls, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, The Honey Pot, Escape, Dragonwyck, and House of Strangers delivers People Will Talk. The storyline for this picture is interesting and fun to watch unfold. The characters are unique though a bit stretched for such an intricate plot. The cast delivers remarkable performances and includes Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain, Sidney Blackner, Hume Cronyn, and Finlay Currie.

"Are you crying again?"

This was recently added to the Netflix classic online queue so I had to watch it. This was a very entertaining film that was masterfully executed by Grant. This is far from his best film, there's a bit too much going on, but this is a classic film that displays Grant's greatness.

"You're even littler than you were before."

Grade: B-
Super Reviewer
February 10, 2013
People Will Talk is a hysterical film, filled with wit and ingenious puns throughout. The screenplay by Mankiewicz ( who also directed the film) was filled with great dialogue. I wasn't only looking forward to what would happen next, but what would be said next. Dr. Praetorius is a new favorite character of mine, and as the epilogue suggests I wish he did exist, if he didn't of course. My favorite scene of the film was the train set. The miscommunication and childishness of it all brought loads of laughter. The informal trial scene was the second that stood out, and was a touching but still quirky scene. I loved this film, classy comedy and should get more recognition than it does.
April 2, 2012
If you can ignore the "painting with broad strokes" typical of the era (halos for the good guy, horns for the bad guy), this film has a lot to offer in thoughtfulness. Luckily it is only 110 minutes long, because there is a lot of ignoring to do.
June 17, 2011
A really good Cary Grant movie that just misses being one of his great movies. Odd characters and interesting tales in this praise of humanitarianism during the MacArthur era with a Doctor getting involved with an unmarried student.
½ March 11, 2008
I had never seen People Will Talk before, nor had I ever remembered even hearing about it.

However, when I saw the description on my TV my interest was piqued.

I saw 1951.

I saw Carey Grant.

I saw something about an unplanned pregnancy, and I saw the title, People Will Talk.

Needless to say, I had to see this.

So, I recorded it with my DVR a while back and took some time to watch it yesterday.

Maybe it is just me, but I get some kind of thrill out of watching old movies deal with taboo subjects, like an unwanted pregnancy. If you are like me, you too will enjoy People Will Talk and how it handles some sticky subject matter. People Will Talk follows Dr. Noah Praetorius (played by Carey Grant) as a mysterious past catches up with him, threatening to possibly ruin his medical career. Part of what puzzles those who are investigating his past is his inexplicable connection to a man named Shunderson, someone who hardly ever leaves the side of Praetorius and someone to which Dr. Praetorious seems to be very very close. Dr. Praetorious refers to Shunderson as his "friend" but it is up to the viewer to determine exactly what their connection is. Also, under investigation is the doctor's peculiar medical past and practices, including his beginnings in a small town and how his time there funded the opening of his own clinic.

This is a movie that is not only political, but way ahead of its time. It is meant to come across as a light romantic comedy, but underneath that 1950s conservative surface it deals with what were likely some of the director's and/or writer's political soapboxes. If for no other reason the movie is captivating due to how it deals with topics like premarital sex, abortion, the HUAC hearings, homosexuality, tax laws and ethics, the pharmaceuticals industry, government jobs, and the field of medicine, etc.

Don't expect this movie to be preachy, it shys away from being preachy and was likely enjoyed and still can be enjoyed on a very surface level as a fun romantic comedy. That is to the credit of the script and the direction, much like many film makers that show a command of the medium, this film entertains and fascinates on many levels. There are some flaws to the film, the basic story line is a little drawn out (though I never found myself bored), some of the dialogue seems too scripted, and there are some unanswered questions (I was dying to know what became of the lives of those in this movie after the movie ends) that may be frustrating to some, but it certainly kept me attentive and I think classic film fans especially will be glad they took the time to see this atypical 1950s film.

Carey Grant is fun to watch as he plays this role. He seems to really enjoy the role, and his love for the character or the story or the issues being handled certainly is apparent. The life of Dr. Noah Praetorious and Carey Grant certainly are both filled with mystery. What is the truth about this man and this character he played? No matter what you think, no matter what conclusions you come to, People Will Talk will certainly have you talking about it, well after it is over.
½ February 13, 2006
Okay, I'd never heard of this movie before Graham picked up a copy cheap at ShopKo the other day, so for once, I'm going to start with a plot summary. Bear with me. It's a bit lengthy.

Okay. Cary Grant plays Dr. Noah Praetorius, who is under investigation for some undisclosed reason by Hume Cronyn. Hume Cronyn is interviewing some ancient and surly woman who used to be Cary Grant's housekeeper; she has something interesting to say about someone of Cary Grant's acquaintance, but we don't get to hear what.

Cary Grant then takes over one of Hume Cronyn's classes (why? who knows?) briefly, as good ol' Hume is late. Cary Grant gives some lecture about a cadaver (lovely woman vaguely resembling our costar) not being all there is to know about humanity or some such. Our costar faints.

Well, naturally, she's pregnant. And unmarried. (In the fifties, yet--the father is killed in Korea, as I recall.) She says she can't tell her own father about it, walks out of Cary Grant's office, and attempts suicide. Since the class she fainted in was her first anatomy class, she'd not the faintest where her heart was and fails. Cary Grant lies to her and says she isn't pregnant to ease her despair. (Huh?) He also determines to work things out so she can tell her father and, presumably, live happily ever after.

Ah, but it turns out the father isn't the problem. The father, and the girl, live with the father's surly brother. Who looks as if he'd kick 'em both out soon as look at 'em--he lives, he says, by the Bible and the calendar. He's got a schedule wrought in iron that cannot be violated. Horrible little man. So, of course, Cary Grant marries the girl. Who still thinks she isn't pregnant. But she is in love with Cary Grant--as who, after all, is not?--and so goes along with it.

With me so far? Good. We're about to get to the confusing part. (Really.)

The girl's starting to think she might be pregnant (the fact that she hasn't had a period in three months or more clearly not being enough of a sign!), and she tells Cary Grant so on his birthday. He reveals his lie. She is, understandably, less than pleased with his little deception. They have dinner. Cary Grant plays with model trains.

Remember that investigation with Hume Cronyn from the beginning of the movie? Good. It turns out that they're going to have a hearing about it before the faculty (they both work at a university; I forgot to mention that, didn't I?) on the night of and just before the performance of the university symphony, which Cary Grant conducts. (No music department?) One of the other members of the tribunal plays bass. So he and Cary Grant are both necessary for the performance, which is delayed by Hume and his findings. (Officially the part that made the least sense to me.)

It turns out that the guy that's been following Cary Grant around the whole movie (who at first I thought was kind of like Harvey) is, technically, an escaped murderer. The reasons behind this make me despair for the legal system under which he was prosecuted, but oh, well. This manages, through explanation of the scenario, to make Cary Grant seem the more noble. He goes off and conducts the orchestra. The girl feels the baby kick for the first time. Fade out.

Now, I'm sure you're with me in thinking, "That's complicated." In fact, I feel that this movie should be divided in half. We never do resolve the whole pregnancy thing satisfactorily. It almost seems an afterthought for the last half of the movie, even though it took up so much focus in the first half. The investigation gets mentioned a couple of times in the first half, but after the first five minutes, we largely forget about it until the end. Somewhere, I feel sure, there's a Cary Grant movie where the first half is about the investigation of a college professor and the second half is about his wife coming to terms with bearing another man's child, and possibly about how they'll explain to the girl's uncle (and father!) how early the baby came after the wedding. The scripts got switched, that's all.

Don't get me wrong. It was charming. I enjoyed it. It was quite funny in places. It just felt like too much plot, neither of which is ever quite carried through. Still, it's Cary Grant, so it's hard to go entirely wrong.
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