Magic Town (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Magic Town (1947)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

With Robert Riskin as screenwriter, director William Wellman proved in Magic Town that it was possible to make a Frank Capra-esque picture without Capra himself at the helm. James Stewart plays Rip Smith, a cynical pollster who comes across a small American town named Grandview, which represents a "perfect" balance of ethnic types, professions, political beliefs, and personal opinions (a parody of the then-current "Middletown" study). Smith publicizes this discovery, leading to a barrage of media attention and an onslaught of get-rich-quick entrepreneurs. Not surprisingly, all of this has an adverse effect on the heretofore "average" citizens of Grandview; it also seriously threatens Smith's blossoming romance with local girl Mary Peterman (Jane Wyman), who feels that her friends and neighbors are being used, exploited, and in some cases, corrupted. The satirical thrust of the film bogs down into sentimentality toward the end, but it's fun while it lasts. One of the colorful supporting characters is played by screwball-comedy favorite Donald Meek, who died during production, necessitating a number of hasty and not altogether successful rewrites. Though it pleases audiences today, Magic Town was a financial disappointment in 1947, prompting James Stewart to seek out "tougher" and more challenging roles to restore his box-office appeal.

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Cast

James Stewart
as Rip Smith
Jane Wyman
as Mary Peterman
Kent Smith
as Hoopendecker
Wallace Ford
as Lou Dicketts
Ned Sparks
as Ike Sloan
Regis Toomey
as Ed Weaver
Ann Doran
as Mrs. Weaver
Donald Meek
as Mr. Twiddle
Ann Shoemaker
as Ma Peterman
Mickey Kuhn
as Hank Nickleby
Howard Freeman
as Richard Nickleby
Mickey Roth
as Bob Peterman
Mary Currier
as Mrs. Frisby
George Irving
as Sen. Wilton
Selmer Jackson
as Charlie Stringer
Julia Dean
as Mrs. Wilton
George Chandler
as Bus Driver
Larry Wheat
as Sam Fuller
Richard Belding
as Junior Dicketts
Edna Holland
as Secretary
Selmar Jackson
as Charlie Stringer
Eddie Parks
as Bookkeeper
Paul Maxey
as Fat Man in Hallway
Wheaton Chambers
as Electrician
Edgar Dearing
as Gray-haired Man
Lawrence Wheat
as Sam Fuller
Emmett Vogan
as Reverend
Eddy Waller
as Newcomer
Garry Owen
as Man Smoking Offensive Cigar
William Haade
as Moving Man
Dick Wessel
as Moving Man
John Ince
as Postman
Dick Elliott
as New Arrival
Lee Phelps
as City Council Member
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Critic Reviews for Magic Town

All Critics (6)

A dated satire on pollsters, that lacks an edge.

September 2, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Interesting comedy take on radio giveaway shows.

October 16, 2004 | Rating: 3/5
Kansas City Kansan

Miscast director bogged in a sappy movie.

August 2, 2004 | Rating: 2/5
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Magic Town

½

Great cast giving excellent performances, fine director. script written by a top flight screenwriter but something is missing and this falls rather flat. Jane Wyman is very good indeed.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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