People Will Talk

People Will Talk

4.5 4
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Cast: Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain, Finlay Currie


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People Will Talk might be the best movie that Cary Grant ever made -- the fact that 95 percent of his fans have never heard of it, much less seen it, has nothing to do with its quality and everything to do with when it was made and released. Contrary to popular belief that the 1950s was a totally complacent era in filmmaking, there were a handful of bold movies…  See more details below


People Will Talk might be the best movie that Cary Grant ever made -- the fact that 95 percent of his fans have never heard of it, much less seen it, has nothing to do with its quality and everything to do with when it was made and released. Contrary to popular belief that the 1950s was a totally complacent era in filmmaking, there were a handful of bold movies willing to take on such issues as domestic strife, the blacklist, and the Red Scare. Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront is the best known and most honored of them; Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Val Guest's Quatermass 2, coming from the science fiction genre, found audiences as well and were successful; and then there were the films that didn't get much regard at the time, mostly because they were too far out in front of events and perhaps too clever for their own good. These included Joseph Anthony's Career, Charles Chaplin's A King in New York (perhaps the best of this whole list), and the film at hand, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's People Will Talk. This movie has turned up on television for decades, luring audiences with its cast and teasing them with its surprisingly piercing dialogue and plot, and bothering those same audiences with those same attributes. Mankiewicz, working from a stage play entitled Dr. Praetorius, fashioned a screenplay and a movie that had a lot to do with medicine but even more to do with freedom and a humane and humanistic approach to life and living, and included a savage attack on the HUAC hearings and the Red Scare, and the tactics behind them. (Not coincidentally, Mankiewicz was busy during this same period trying to keep the Rad baiters from taking over the Directors Guild of America.) It may not have done very well in theaters at the time it was released, but People Will Talk has been given nice treatment by Fox Video (ironically, an organization owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose newspapers have never shown any distaste for the blacklist or the consequences of the Red Scare). The full-screen (1.33:1) film-to-video transfer is beautiful, richly detailed, and full of depth and pleasing contrasts, with a sharp image, whether in the tightest close-up or the widest group shot. The audio has been mastered at a healthy volume level, and includes the musical performance segments (of Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture," an essential plot element). The 103-minute movie has been given a generous 18 chapters and comes with the original theatrical teaser and trailer (which never really explain what the movie is about), and a still-frame gallery, plus trailers from other Cary Grant films owned by Fox. One does heartily wish, however, that the movie had been included in Fox's Studio Classics line, complete with audio commentary; the movie begs for that treatment, and anyone discovering this film for the first time will probably want to know a lot more about it. The disc is nicely put together as far as it goes, opening automatically on a two-layer menu that's very easy to use.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Turning his trademark gifts for dialogue and complex characterizations to politically dicey material after his Oscar-winning successes with All About Eve (1950) and A Letter to Three Wives (1949), Joseph L. Mankiewicz used a story about a charismatic and unorthodox doctor to take on controversial contemporary issues. Hume Cronyn's nefarious Prof. Elwell is an image of the Communist-hunters of HUAC, as well as, more generally, the voice of repressive postwar conservatism, as he plots to discredit Cary Grant's forward-thinking Dr. Praetorious by digging up dirt on his houseman and his relationship with an unmarried pregnant patient. Grant's casting stacks the deck in favor of Dr. Praetorious's philosophical, humanist approach to medicine and life, but Grant's nuanced, serio-comic performance, and skilled turns from a supporting cast that includes Finlay Currie and Walter Slezak, make the conflict intriguing. Though Grant's adept light touch helped keep People Will Talk smart rather than preachy, the film failed to match the laurels of its predecessors.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo]

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant Dr. Noah Praetorius
Jeanne Crain Debbie Higgins
Finlay Currie Shunderson
Hume Cronyn Prof. Elwell
Walter Slezak Prof. Barker
Sidney Blackmer Arthur Higgins
Basil Ruysdael Dean Lyman Brockwell
Katherine Locke Miss James
Will Wright John Higgins
Margaret Hamilton Miss Pickett
Esther Somers Mrs. Pegwhistle
Carleton Young Technician
Ray Montgomery Doctor
Joe Gilbert Nurse
Ann Morrison Dietician
Julia Dean Old Lady
Gail Bonney Secretary
William R. Klein Student Manager
George Offerman Haskins
Adele Longmire Mabel
Billy House Coonan
Al Murphy Photographer
Parley Baer Toy Salesman
Irene Seidner Cook
Joyce MacKenzie Gussie
Maude Wallace Night Matron
Kay Lavelle Bella
Stuart Holmes Board Member
Jack Kelly Actor
Paul Lees Actor
Billy Mauch Actor
Ted Offenbecker Haskins
Lawrence Dobkin Business Manager

Technical Credits
Joseph L. Mankiewicz Director,Screenwriter
George W. Davis Art Director
W.D. Flick Sound/Sound Designer
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Hal Klein Asst. Director
Milton Krasner Cinematographer
Charles LeMaire Costumes/Costume Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Barbara McLean Editor
Alfred Newman Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles/Epilogue [2:21]
2. Professor Elwell's Research [6:10]
3. A Lecture [:14]
4. At the Clinic [4:15]
5. Music and Medicine [2:21]
6. Trouble Brewing [7:57]
7. Visiting Deborah [4:29]
8. Arthur Higgins [2:53]
9. John Higgins [2:29]
10. A Farm Tour [3:19]
11. Eloping [2:07]
12. The Detective's Report [4:59]
13. Prof. Elwell's Visit [2:08]
14. A Train Wreck [7:20]
15. The Hearing [1:06]
16. Shunderson's Story [3:09]
17. A Cadaver of My Own [2:15]
18. The Concert [3:55]


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People Will Talk 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I can see some of the points made in the synopsis, I feel that this movie is more clever than first thought. The movie is quite risque. It was made in the mid forties when certain social issues were not discussed openly such as unwed pregnancy, and suicide. On other planes, the fact that when Grant and Crain are discussing her pregnancy towards the end of the movie, they are in their bedroom. The room had only one bed. That in itself was not a common practice in movies or later in television. However, beyond the social issues, this movie speaks to my inner romantic. I liked that Grant's character was accepting of Crain's character's past, and also accepted the baby as his own. The relationship between Shunderson and Praetorius is sweet, and Hume Cronyn was great as the sniveling professor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People Will Talk is one of my favorite movies. I really wish there was a doctor like Grant's character middle aged Dr. Praetorius. He is kind, level headed, and always listens to the patient. The movie is set up around his practice at the local college, where a rival professor is trying to dig up some dirt to discredit Praetorius' practice. During this time, Praetorius comes to the aid of a pregnant college girl who doesn't want to add the burden to her father by having an illegitimate child. In coming to her aid, Praetorius falls in love for the first time. While I agree with the other review on this title, I found it enjoyable and let the ideas of the past stay in the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago