The Talk of the Town (1942)

The Talk of the Town (1942)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Talk of the Town Photos

Movie Info

George Stevens' Talk of the Town is a quick-witted comedy driven by wonderful performances by Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur. Michael Lightcap (Colman) is a stuffy law professor in line to a Supreme Court appointment, who is spending the summer at the house of schoolteacher Nora Shelley (Arthur). But Lightcap is not the only guest at the house. Shelley has also let Leopold Dilg (Grant)--a man who had recently escaped from prison, where he was serving a sentence for false accusations of immolating a local factory--stay at the house, telling Lightcap that he is a gardener. In addition to striking up a friendship, Lightcap and Dilg also compete for the affections of Shelley. Eventually, the professor learns of Dilg's true identity, finding out that Leopold was framed by a crooked government, led by the foreman of the factory, who supposedly died in the fire. When Dilg is captured by the police, Lightcap comes to his defense, bringing the still-alive foreman out of hiding and, in the process, clearing Leopold of all the charges. Talk of the Town received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Original Story, Best Score, Best Editing, and Best Interior Decoration, yet it lost in all of the categories. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

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Cary Grant
as Leopold Dilg
Jean Arthur
as Nora Shelley
Ronald Colman
as Michael Lightcap
Edgar Buchanan
as Sam Yates
Glenda Farrell
as Regina Bush
Charles Dingle
as Andrew Holmes
Emma Dunn
as Mrs. Shelley
Rex Ingram
as Tilney
Leonid Kinskey
as Jan Pulaski
Tom Tyler
as Clyde Bracken
Don Beddoe
as Chief of Police
George Watts
as Judge Grunstadt
Clyde Fillmore
as Sen. James Boyd
Frank M. Thomas
as District Attorney
Lloyd Bridges
as Forrester
Ralph Peters
as Moving Man
Max Wagner
as Moving Man
Al Bridge
as Desk Sergeant
William 'Billy' Benedict
as Western Union Boy
Harold Kruger
as Ball Player
Al Rhein
as Man
Jack Carr
as Usher
Ralph Dunn
as Sergeant
Bill Lally
as Sergeant
Edward Hearn
as Sergeant
Roberta Smith
as School Girl
Dorothy Babb
as School Girl
Lee Phelps
as Detective
Al Ferguson
as Detective
Eddie Coke
as Reporter
John Shay
as Reporter
Eddie Bruce
as Reporter
Ferike Boros
as Mrs. Pulaski
Jack Gardner
as Cameraman
William Gould
as Sheriff
Lee "Lasses" White
as Hound Keeper
Joe McGuinn
as Jailer
Lelah Tyler
as Woman
Lew Davis
as Waiter
William Benedict
as Western Union Boy
Gino Corrado
as Waiter
Frank Sully
as Road Cop
Dan Seymour
as Headwaiter
Mabel Todd
as Operator
Lee Prather
as Sergeant-at-Arms
Clarence Muse
as Doorkeeper
Leslie Brooks
as Secretary
Alan Bridge
as Desk Sergeant
Joe Cunningham
as McGuire
Jack Lowe
as Workman
Robert Walker
as Deputy Sheriff
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Critic Reviews for The Talk of the Town

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3)

An attractive serio-comic tale of civic corruption.

June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It may be off beam in its philosophy, but its quality of humor is not strained.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Overblown, too long, and not nearly as much fun as it's cracked up to be.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Though verbose, this darkly humorous film benefits from star power of Cary Grant in atypical role, some witty dialogue, and timely subject matter.

Full Review… | March 5, 2008

The acting by Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, and Ronald Colman is top-notch.

Full Review… | January 14, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The contrivance of plot is compensated by one of the most genial casts in history.

Full Review… | November 13, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for The Talk of the Town

Another of my favourite Cary Grant movies, and Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman movies too. I guess you could just say it's one of my favourite movies! The story is both thrilling and hilarious. Plus, you learn a lot about politics and philosophy and things that people cared about in the forties. I highly recommend this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


In "The Talk of the Town," Leopold Dilg(Cary Grant) is in jail, being accused of arson and murder. Facing an impossible trial and a possible death penalty, he does the only sensible thing and escapes, injuring his ankle in the process. He gets as far as the farmhouse of Nora Shelley(Jean Arthur) who takes pity on him and hides him in the attic. At which point, Professor Michael Lightcap(Ronald Colman), the new tenant, arrives a day early. Leopold's lawyer Sam Yates(Edgar Buchanan) sees an opportunity and wants to recruit the renowned law professor to their cause. "The Talk of the Town" is an enjoyable comedy about a serious subject that is handled well by its very talented cast, even the more improbable parts of the story. Considering how badly activists have been treated in the movies over the years, it is refreshing to have one in Leopold who is so likable.(Well, yes, I know he is played by Cary Grant but at this point, his persona was not frozen in stone, yet.) I also did not realize how rare beards were at the time which is another detail of how brave this movie was. That fits in well with the movie being so much on the side of advocacy and individualism, showing clearly how politics can change people for the better.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Wonderfully funny even if it does have a very serious point. The three leads do an absolutely brilliant job in conveying a growing relationship and are perhaps one of the only believable and functional threesomes in cinema. The script doesn't drag itself down by having a rivalry breakout between the two males, making this very fresh. The ending goes on a bit even after the point has been made. Awesomely enjoyable stuff.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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