Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Five - People Will Talk, "But then, they always do."

That Cary Grant was, most probably, the single most charming and beguiling actor of his era is undeniable in my opinion. The man was a powerhouse of presence and some of the greatest of classic films came over the span of his career.

There are actually quite a few Cary Grant films up on Netflix and for that I'm glad, as I probably would've never been exposed to half of them through normal channels, partially because I've given up cable/satellite with the likes of TCM and AMC which occasionally show some classic films but certainly not all of them.

Personally, my favorite is To Catch a Thief, but that's not why I'm blogging tonight. No, I'm typing furiously away thanks to one of his lesser known works, People Will Talk.

I find People Will Talk to be oddly interesting... not because it's a great film, by any standard, but because Grant manages to pull it along by sheer force of his charm alone. The plot meanders, the conflicts and weak and easily dealt with, and the chemistry between Grant's and Jeanne Crain's characters, well, I wouldn't believe it if it were done by any other person.

I mean, honestly, it's a "love at first sight" situation that is never really resolved, and only from the Miss Higgins' (Crain) perspective, but they call stark attention to it. It's plainly said and we really have no idea why or how Grant's Dr.Praetorius fell for a desperate woman, but through calm, husky timbre, he manages to smooth it all over and away.

Then there's the issue of Hume Cronyn's weaselly Professor Elwell who seems to have it in for Dr.Praetorius from the start. He spends the film trying to dig up dirt to get Praetorius fired but, of course, only seems to make himself out to be a petty monster thanks to a climax tribunal in which the good doctor's constant companion, the mysterious Shunderson (Finlay Currie), bares all and takes the wind out of the proceedings... breaking the tension of him having been an oddity for the majority of the film.

Really, I love Hume Cronyn, and I applaud him his professionalism here, but this was not his best role, both in terms of actual screen time or likability. In my own opinion, I preferred his performance in the remake of 12 Angry Men, but that's just me.

It's funny, there's really not much meat to this movie. Nor laughs. Nor romance, though they do try with "magic shots" of Grant and Crain in the sweet embrace of a kiss.

The scandals that the film tries to shop around with (Marrying an already pregnant woman, practicing medicine without hanging a shingle, killing a man who was presumed dead by the man who served sentence for killing him the first time) could've been explored with much more depth and screen time, never really materializing... instead they're pretty much glazed over with barely a thought, and that's a disservice.

That said, Grant still managed to keep my attention throughout the entire film in that hypnotic way that only he could do.

It's no To Catch a Thief, mind you, not by a long shot... nor even close to Arsenic and Old Lace... but there are worse ways to spend an evening.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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