The Talk of the Town ★★★★

What an understated touchstone of the queer cinematic universe. I can't sing its praise high enough: I was thoroughly impressed by how every part of this movie (from dialogue to direction) complements the other like a well-oiled machine. The plot is delightfully political while masked as a madcap romp, and utilizes physical humor (which I usually loathe) in the most ingenious of ways. Not to mention, the cast is top tier: Jean Arthur is the perfect middle woman to balance out the high crackling chemistry between Colman and Grant -- just present enough to enhance their dynamic, but not so omnipresent as to detract from it.

Stevens clearly knew what he was doing and goes to blatant lengths to center the focus (whether it's in the form of key lighting, framing a shot, or both) on the two men while Arthur passively becomes part of the scenery. The ending -- no spoilers -- is delightfully contrarian to code standards, which made me love it all the more. Truly, there's a lot of excellence to be had in this film and I'm quite frankly ashamed it took me so long to get around to it. There is nothing quite as invigorating as a well-rounded, cohesive film, particularly after a string of stinkers that left a lot to be desired.

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