The Talk of the Town

The Talk of the Town ★★★★½

Jean Arthur's school teacher rents a house to Colman's supreme court nominee but finds it is hiding escaped murder suspect Grant.

A lovely mix of capra style civics lesson (done in a far more palatable fashion than Capra would) and romantic comedy. Arthur brings her A game of deceptive intelligence and adorable phrasing. Colman is charming and brusque and grows and changes as the story demands. Grant does that thing he does in his best movies, that he had seemingly forgotten how to do after the war of standing in the background and giving the other actors room to breath and make their points while interjecting little amused lines that change the tone of the scene. Think the way he subtly destabilises Hepburn in Philadelphia story while she is talking to Kittridge or Mike or sets Russell and Bellamy up in His Girl Friday. A detached intelligent charm that allows Arthur and Colman to carry the bulk of the audiences interest and even allows you to hope those two end up together, beautifully unselfish acting that reminded me why I liked him in the first place.

Stevens handles the whole thing so well, a director who really knew how to make Arthur shine he does the same for Colman's slightly aloof patrician charm and he allows the legal drama, comedy and romance to balance surprisingly well.

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