HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  People Will Talk Secrets & Lies Bring A Pleasant SurpriseBuy this film here.
Year: 1951
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain, Finlay Currie, Hume Cronyn, Walter Slezak, Sidney Blackmer, Basil Ruysdael, Margaret Hamilton
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Doctor Noah Pretorius (Cary Grant) is greatly respected both as a physician and a lecturer at the medical college, where he teaches it is important to treat a sick person’s ailing spirit as much as their illness. However, an embittered colleague, Professor Rodney Elwell (Hume Cronyn) greatly resents the good doctor and is eager to dig up some dirt from his past to discredit him. His suspicions fall on Mr. Shunderson (Finlay Currie), an enigmatic, elderly man who, nicknamed “The Bat”, shadows Noah like a manservant. When beautiful Deborah Higgins (Jeanne Crain) faints during Noah’s lecture on anatomy, he discerns she is pregnant and unmarried. Later, he saves Deborah’s life after she attempts suicide. Noah visits her home on a farm and discovers Deborah and her forlorn father Arthur Higgins (Sidney Blackmer) are near-penniless, financially dependent upon his bullying brother John. Having fallen in love, Noah deliberately lies, telling Deborah she is not pregnant, so she won’t question his motives for proposing marriage, but Prof. Elwell is poised to make his move.

A decidedly offbeat, yet beguiling comedy-drama, People Will Talk has the mannered, yet certainly well-written, dialogue and theatrical staging that betray its origins as a stage-play. Written by German playwright Curt Goetz, “Doctor Praetorius” (not to be confused with the decidedly less-than-benevolent character Ernest Thesiger immortalised in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)!) first reached the screen in its native Germany back in the Thirties, but as reworked by the great Joseph L. Mankiewicz has been interpreted by some as a comment on the then-recent Communist witch-hunts orchestrated by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Certainly there is an element of McCarthy about the belligerent, joyless Prof. Elwell, wittily surmised by Shunderson as a little man who grows that much smaller by the story’s end. Mankiewicz also tips his hand by casting Margaret Hamilton, formerly the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz (1939), as the spiteful housekeeper who sells Noah out for the promise of a new job.

Typically for a Mankiewicz production, this has its share of acerbic dialogue with waspish characters who snipe from the sidelines, but is largely a hymn to human decency and heroes that rise above the mire. Noah Pretorius is a wholly admirable figure, critical of the heartlessness of much modern life, yet caring and most importantly, strong enough to face down self-righteous ogres like John Higgins and Rodney Elwell. Such a character could easily lapse into mawkish sentimentality, but with Mankiewicz at the helm, the saccharine is kept at bay thanks to eccentric supporting characters (e.g. Professor Barker, with Walter Slezak in a rare and welcome, avuncular good guy role; Finlay Currie is quietly moving as the mysterious Shunderson, and delivers his near-ridiculous back-story with such stoicism, Cary Grant visibly strains to keep a straight face) and delightfully surreal comedy: e.g. Shunderson staring angry dog into submission, or Noah turning his living room into a giant train set.

It is also a love story and both Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain imbue their roles with great warmth and subtlety. Their courtship scene, set in the milking room on John Higgins’ farm, is especially well written and performed, as first he pursues her, then she pursues him. Deborah’s strained politeness when she faces down Prof. Elwell is another great to and fro between actors, showcasing not just their skill but that of Mankiewicz. A little known gem, worth seeking out by Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain fans.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 6724 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: