Thursday, July 18, 2013

People Will Talk

1951, US, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Somewhere online I came across the comment, in reference to this film, "people will talk...and talk...and talk," and that's certainly the abiding memory after a gap of a few weeks. The plot, or rather plots, are complex to the point of absurdity, and thus necessitate an extraordinary amount of explanation, entirely at odds with the brisk storytelling that I tend to enjoy in classic Hollywood. Though I'm normally a fan of Cary Grant's particular charm, his performance, or perhaps his character, left me cold here: there are far greater riches in the supporting roles, particularly Hume Cronyn as a weaselly academic, Walter Slezak as Grant's avuncular best pal (the bit where he helps himself to sausage and sauerkraut defines scene stealing), and Finlay Currie as Grant's oddball friend/manservant. Early on, and strangely uncredited, there's also a terrific appearance from Margaret Hamilton, best known as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz: her sparring with Cronyn perhaps best captures what the film might have been.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States