The Talk of the Town

Very nearly could have been about the Jim Crow South: A wrongly accused man escapes imprisonment and mob violence, and must be smuggled over state lines to see justice prevail, regain his freedom of movement and reputation. But the film's ultimate contention is that the system works, so this is not some crypto-criticism of American race relations filtered through the Hollywood marquee. Lightcap's man Tilney and the Black attendants at the Supreme Court directly repudiate the idea that the American legal apparatus needs anything other than a spit shine. Their thankless lot is to eagerly, passively attend the serious work of great men. All we need is to talk some sense into the crowds manipulated by a few bad actors.

Grant as the labor agitator Dilg is betrayed by his borscht purveyor, which makes Talk of the Town a window into that narrow time when worker rights weren't synonymous with Eastern European muckraking against Christ and country, the cream that would sour as WWII ended and the Cold War began.

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