Rent The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

3.7 of 5 from 57 ratings
1h 31min
Rent The Whole Town's Talking Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Ordinary man-in-the-street Arthur Ferguson Jones (Edward G. Robinson) leads a very straightforward life. He's never late for work and nothing interesting ever happens to him. One day everything changes: he oversleeps and is fired as an example, he's then mistaken for evil criminal Killer Mannion (also Edward G. Robinson) and is arrested. The resemblance is so striking that the police give him a special pass to avoid a similar mistake. The real Mannion sees the opportunity to steal the pass and move around freely and chaos results.
, , , , , , , , , , Harry Abrahams, , Carmen Andre, , , , H. Barnum, , ,
Lester Cowan, John Ford
Jo Swerling, Robert Riskin, W.R. Burnett
Classics, Comedy, Drama
Top 10 World Cinema Remakes
Release Date:
Not released
Run Time:
91 minutes
Release Date:
Run Time:
93 minutes
English LPCM Mono
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Cymbaline (2020, 7 mins): video essay by Tag Gallagher, author of 'John Ford: Himself and His Movies'
  • Leonard Maltin on 'The Whole Town's Talking' (2014, 6 mins): archival appreciation by the film critic and historian
  • A Trip Outside Ford Country (2020, 23 mins): new appreciation by academic and film historian Sheldon Hall
  • No Rules But Her Own (2020, 18 mins): writer and critic Pamela Hutchinson discusses the life and career of actor Jean Arthur
  • Lux Radio Theatre: 'The Whole Town's Talking' (1941, 53 mins): vintage radio adaptation, starring Jim Jordan and Marian Jordan
  • Image gallery: promotional and publicity materials
  • UK premiere on Blu-ray

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Reviews (1) of The Whole Town's Talking

Wildly entertaining comedy of mixed identities from Holywood's Golden age. - The Whole Town's Talking review by KW

Spoiler Alert

This film is part of the interesting John Ford at Columbia box set, in that it is a collection of films by John Ford that you would not think were John Ford films (another is Gideon's Day which follows a day in the life of a London policeman and is a curiosity worth seeing).

Edward G. Robinson plays the dual roles of a mild-mannered ordinary guy who works in an office and has fallen in love with the sparky modern gal played with great energy by Jean Arthur, but he is also the ruthless murdering gangster who is an unlikely double. Drama and comedy combine as the two men get mistaken for each other, in a movie that succeeds largely because Edward G. Robinson absolutely nails the distinctly different mannerisms of the two characters he is playing, to the extent that as an audience we need no dialogue to figure out who's who.

This is a wildly entertaining film, and audiences of the time must have been dazzled by the visual effects. To a modern audience, the back projection looks a bit obvious, but in one of the extras on the disc Leonard Maltin claims there is a scene where two Edward G. Robinsons are talking to each other within the frame: one is smoking and as he exhales, the smoke wanders in front of the other Edward G. Robinson. It's difficult to figure out how that was done with the technology of the 1930s.

If you enjoy Hollywood movies of this period, this one should suck you in within the first three minutes - quality popcorn fare from the golden age.

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