Part debate about the American legal system, part sophisticated romantic comedy, George Stevens's The Talk of the Town (1942) portrays a legally loaded love triangle between a wrongly accused fugitive, a local New England schoolteacher and a cloistered law professor. With Cary Grant as the accused Leopold, Jean Arthur as the teacher Nora and Ronald Colman as the jurist Lightcap, Stevens and screenwriters Irwin Shaw and Sidney Buchman seamlessly interweave introspective discussions about the law with clever repartee as Leopold and Nora scheme to convince Lightcap to abandon his disinterested stance and help Leopold's cause against the corrupt town machine. Spiked with bits of visual and physical comedy such as a bloodhound chase and some judiciously placed fried eggs, The Talk of the Town manages to be both serious about its patriotic message, and hilarious in its telling. Stevens's opening montage, complete with a threateningly dour Grant, is a model of economical story-telling, as is the exchange of parting glances between the three before Nora makes her romantic move. A substantial hit, The Talk of the Town was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture and Screenplay.
by Lucia Bozzola review