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The Whole Town's Talking


The Whole Town's Talking

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The recently re-released 1935 comedy The Whole Town's Talking is an entertaining oddity: Directed by John Ford a few years before hitting his stride, the film stars Edward G. Robinson in a dual role as a meek clerk and the vicious gangster he resembles. Still trying to shake being typecast as an underworld type after a string of successful gangster roles, Robinson used The Whole Town's Talking as an opportunity to both give the public what it wanted and establish that he could work outside the parameters established for him. Jean Arthur (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) also delivers a star-making performance as the fast-talking, devil-may-care career girl who captures the meek Robinson's heart. Ford is probably the last director who should be tackling a fast-paced urban comedy, but the film works best when he sticks closest to that format. Once Arthur disappears and it becomes more of a gangster film, things get bogged down. Nevertheless, Robinson is a delight, as usual, in both roles, and slight as it may be, The Whole Town's Talking is a lot of fun.