Combustible Celluloid
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With: Edward G. Robinson, Jean Arthur, Arthur Hohl, James Donlan, Arthur Byron, Wallace Ford, Donald Meek, Etienne Girardot, Edward Brophy, Paul Harvey
Written by: Jo Swerling, Robert Riskin, based on a story by W.R. Burnett
Directed by: John Ford
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 93
Date: 02/22/1935

The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Two Eddies

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This atypical but very satisfying John Ford movie stars Edward G. Robinson as milquetoast advertising man Arthur Ferguson Jones and also as the fierce gangster "Killer" Mannion. Of course, Jones is mistaken for Mannion, and at first, it's just a little inconvenient. But then Mannion figures out a way to use the double to his sinister advantage. Based on a story by W.R. Burnett, The Whole Town's Talking is more of a tightly constructed comedy than Ford was used to making, without his usual broad sense of humor. That sweet, snappy comedy actress Jean Arthur helps a great deal, playing Jones's co-worker who becomes involved in the scheme. There are some tricky visual effects shots as the two Robinsons cross paths that will have viewers guessing. For some reason, Robinson and Ford did not work together again for nearly thirty years, until the actor played a small role in Cheyenne Autumn.

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