People Will Talk

( 4 )

Overview

People Will Talk was less a movie than a conduit for the genteel liberalism of screenwriter/director Joseph M. Mankiewicz. Cary Grant plays Dr. Praetorius, an unorthodox medical professor at a sedate midwestern college who seems more interested in the human soul than in the cold facts of the human body. Praetorius' nemesis is a conservative rival doctor Hume Cronyn who presses for an investigation of our hero's clouded past--with special emphasis given the mysterious old man Finlay Currie who lives with ...
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Overview

People Will Talk was less a movie than a conduit for the genteel liberalism of screenwriter/director Joseph M. Mankiewicz. Cary Grant plays Dr. Praetorius, an unorthodox medical professor at a sedate midwestern college who seems more interested in the human soul than in the cold facts of the human body. Praetorius' nemesis is a conservative rival doctor Hume Cronyn who presses for an investigation of our hero's clouded past--with special emphasis given the mysterious old man Finlay Currie who lives with Praetorius and waits on him hand and foot. In the course of the film, Praetorius falls in love with one of his students, an unmarried pregnant girl Jeanne Crain. At the climactic hearing concerning Praetorius' fitness, the presiding judge Basil Ruysdael decides that Praetorius' "modern" methods are more worthwhile than the pragmatic, cut-and-dried theories of his enemies. Based on a German play by Curt Goetz, People Will Talk is a bit too proud of its own cleverness, with Mankiewicz' political planks being wedged in at all the inappropriate times while conversing with the father of the pregnant girl, Praetorius launches on a gratuitous attack against farm subsidies! Still, the film is ten times more intelligent than most of Hollywood's 1951 output, and contains one of Cary Grant's best and subtlest seriocomic performances. Bonus: In the first scene of People Will Talk, the snoopy lady who brings Praetorius' "shady" past to the attention of Hume Cronyn is played by an uncredited Margaret "Wicked Witch of the West" Hamilton.
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/1998
  • UPC: 086162151330
  • Original Release: 1951
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

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 Sr. 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
Lawrence Dobkin Business Manager
Stuart Holmes Board Member
Jack Kelly
Paul Lees
Billy Mauch
Ted Offenbecker Haskins
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 Sr. Makeup
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I love this movie

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Doctor You Can Trust

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews