Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PEOPLE WILL TALK (1951)


A wonderful, highly entertaining movie in which Cary Grant, as Dr. Noah Praetorius, embodies and exemplifies a sanguine, affirmative, compassionate, highly pragmatic approach to life and human relationships desperately needed at all times, but never more so than it is today.

It isn't specifically "political," thank God, but rather it transcends politics in that it helps us see the world from a better, more encouraging perspective thus enabling us to make sounder judgments in our daily walk –– and at the ballot box.

That People Will talk failed at the box office when it opened gives us all the more reason to cherish it for its rare degree of honesty and good character.   Profundity couched in charming, quasi-comedic terms. Few may realize it, but "Dr. Praetorius" functions beautifully as a stand-in for Jesus Christ.

Hume Cronyn is brilliant in his portrayal the Man We Love to Hate. I see him as a stand-in for the Devil.

Everyone in the cast is first-rate. Cary Grant gives his finest performance in this little-known film

PEOPLE WILL TALK 
is a Perfect Example 
of a 
TRUE CLASS ACT.

20 comments:

  1. Herman KrakenballhammerSeptember 6, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Mr. FreeThinke,
    Thank you for presenting this fine cinematic outing. Watching such old classics makes one realize Hollywood lost its way a long time ago.

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  2. The Ghost of Phyllis SchlaflySeptember 6, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    Wonderful movie!

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  3. Felicity PlumbcheeksSeptember 6, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Delightful selection! Would you please favor us with more of your poetry?

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  4. Hardly his best but worth watching. Grant had a knack for making even pedestrian vehicles a solid entertainment.

    I think you're wrong ignoring the political subtext rejecting McCarythism which runs through the film.

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    1. You see anti-McCarthyism where I see Jesus Christ. It figures. ;^)

      There is nothing the least bit "pedestrian" about People Will Talk. I had never seen it before TCM presented it a couple of nights ago. I found myself astonished at how it managed to be both delightful and tremendously moving at the same time.

      It IS possibly Cary Grant's finest performance. Instead of the usual Decorous Debonair Dandy of Dubious Derivation breezing through perilous adventures in glamorous settings with with an adoring glamour girl in tow, we see in Dr. Praetorius a warm, humane, flesh-and-blood-but-high-minded character who cuts through the sham, pretense and self-defeating nonsense with which too many cripple their lives and those of others, gets right to the essentials of every situation and acts accordingly without apology or demur. In short the best kind of "hero" one could ever hope to find.

      I can't remember ever hearing Cary Grant say his lines in such a manly manner with such fervent conviction, although his portrayal of the angel Dudley in The Bishop's Wife comes close.

      Walter Slezak was at his most lovable best too as were Jeanne Crain and the man who played her father, and the mysterious "Mr. Schunderson."

      Art does not have to treat specifically "religious" themes to have religious significance. The same may be even truer when it comes to politics.

      In my understanding Art and Polemics don't mix very well.

      At any rate I truly loved this film, and it helped restore faith in and love for the commercial entertainment industry, –– as it used to be ––, in my jaded old soul.

      I hope you know, Ducky, that writers, poets, composers and scriptwriters don't always fully realize the full substance of what they produce. Johanna Brahms, for instance, was often surprised –– and openly delighted –– by the unique insights that came to gifted performers of Brahms's own works.

      By the way did you know that People Will Talk was an American film's version of a GERMAN play called "Dr. Praetorius?" That alone should cast serious doubt on your notion that the movie should be viewed as an anti-McCarthyist polemic. It's theme, as I understand it, is MUCH broader than that.

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    2. This particular film is seen as a comment on McCarthyism in large part because its director, Joseph Mankiewicz, was the subject of serious attacks and was outspoken against the proceedings.

      I'll allow that he had a more dramatic presence here than usual but to say its his best role means placing it above Notorious, His Girl Friday, Charade, Bringing Up Baby, North by Northwest, The Philadelphia Story etc. is pushing it into some rarefied territory.

      But we'd probably agree that he had great range and had a great knack for making worthwhile films, in no small part due to his skill.

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    3. Yes, Ducky, I read WIKI's entry on this film too. I would agree that Mankiewicz may have THOUGHT he was using Dr. Praetorius to promote an anti-McCarthy Agenda subliminally, but the fact remains he wound up doing a great deal MORE.

      Over many years of trial and error, stumbling, falling, picking myself up and dusting myself off, etc. I have learned to trust my perceptions. I am glad my vision was not clouded by someone ELSE'S idea of what the movie was about, because it enabled me to experience it's impact DIRECTLY.

      This is why I generally do not read "reviews" of ANYTHING. I prefer to develop my OWN ideas, and refuse to let them be spoon-fed to me by academics and so-called "experts" who are invariably agenda-driven.

      The Lord really does work in mysterious ways –– even to the point of "fooling" some with hurt feelings, narrow, vengeful aims and retaliatory ambition into revealing eternal, universal truths about the Human Condition and what needs to be done to improve it.

      What I said about Brahms above is absolutely true.

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    4. When you come right down to it, don't all books, plays, movies and rhymes deal with the basic conflict between good and evil? This Duck character wants to believe McCarthy was evil. Apparently, Mankiewicz thought so too, since it was his ox that was being gored. FT sees it more broadly as a struggle to combat petty tyranny, stupidity and mean-mindedness, things that harm human relationships and stunt the development of whole communities if left unchecked. I don't think there was anything petty about the effort to stop communism, which I believe is the greatest evil to come along since the Civil War, but the movie is still about more than that.

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    2. Comments MUST relate to the TOPIC of the POST.

      This is NOT a "Open Thread."

      Can't you READ? Don't you have ANY sense at ALL?

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  6. Dora Temple Pierce said

    Mr. Free Thinke, here are all the cast members. I was surprised that Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, was UNCREDITED. She had a small part here, but I thought she stood out. A great character actress she was.

    Cary Grant ...Dr. Noah Praetorius
    Jeanne Crain ... Deborah Higgins
    Finlay Currie ... Mr. Shunderson
    Hume Cronyn ... Prof. Rodney Elwell
    Walter Slezak ...Prof. Barker
    Sidney Blacker ... Arthur Higgins
    Basil Ruysdael ... Dean Lyman Brockwell
    Katherine Locke ... Miss James


    Parley Baer ... Toy Store Salesman (uncredited)
    Bonnie Barlowe ... Minor Role (uncredited)
    Gail Bonney ... Dean's Secretary (uncredited)
    William Bryant ...Student Manager (uncredited)
    James Carlisle ...Trial Spectator (uncredited)
    John Davidson ... Faculty Board Member (uncredited)
    Julia Dean ... Old Lady (uncredited)
    Wally Dean ... Faculty Board Member (uncredited)
    Lawrence Dobbin ... Business Manager (uncredited)
    Bill Dyer ... Car Attendant (uncredited)
    Bess Flowers ... Concertgoer (uncredited)
    Jo Gilbert ... Nurse (uncredited)
    Robert Haines ... Trial Spectator (uncredited)
    MARGAREt HAMILTON ... Miss Sarah Pickett (uncredited!)
    Sam Harris ... Trial Spectator (uncredited)
    Stuart Holmes Stuart Holmes ...
    Faculty Board Member (uncredited)
    Billy House ... Coonan (uncredited)
    Marjorie Jackson ... Minor Role (uncredited)
    Jack Kelly ...Student in Classroom (uncredited)
    Kay Lavelle ... Bella (uncredited)
    Paul Lees ... Student (uncredited)
    Carl M. Leviness ... Trial Spectator (uncredited)
    Adele Longmire ... Mabel (uncredited)
    Joyce Mackenzie ... Gussie (uncredited)
    Billy Mauch ... Student (uncredited)
    Hans Moebus ... Faculty Board Member (uncredited)
    Ray Montgomery ... Doctor (uncredited)
    Ann Morrison ... Dietician (uncredited)
    Al Murphy ... Photographer (uncredited)
    George Offerman Jr. ... Uriah Haskins (uncredited)
    Irene Seidner ... Cook (uncredited)
    Esther Somers ... Mrs. Pegwhistle (uncredited)
    Leon Tyler ... Student (uncredited)
    Carol Varga ... Cadaver (uncredited)
    Maude Wallace ... Night Matron (uncredited)
    Lawrence A. Williams ... Faculty Board Member (uncredited)
    Will Wright ... Uncle John Higgins (uncredited)
    Carleton Young ... Technician (uncredited)

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    1. Thank you, DTP. Knowing who's who is always helpful,

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    1. Comments MUST relate to the TOPIC of the POST.

      This is NOT a "Open Thread."

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  8. Academy Award-winning actor and ardent Bernie Sanders campaigner Susan Sarandon, spoke out against Hillary Clinton, saying that her presidency could prove “more dangerous” than Donald Trump’s.

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    1. Interesting but IRRELEVANT to THIS post.

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  9. Replies
    1. Sounds rather banal in translation, doesn't it? But in the hands of Johannes BRAHMS it becomes stirring beyond belief. One of the many cases where the MUSIC transcends the quality and significance of the text, and infuses it wit greater meaning and more universal application.

      This is particularly true in the realm of opera.

      [FYI: Brahms never wrote an opera. Beethoven wrote but one.]

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