The Talk of the Town ★★★★

Part of my War Years Challenge

Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman star in this film directed by George Stevens, adapted for the screen by Dale Van Every from a story by Sidney Harmon. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but came away with no Oscars in a year dominated by "Mrs. Miniver."

In a nutshell, Leopold Dilg (Grant) is accused of arson at a woolen mill owned by Andrew Holmes (Charles Dingle) and killing a worker named Clyde Bracken (Tom Tyler). Dilg is arrested and put on trial, but he escapes from jail and holes up in a cottage owned by childhood friend Nora Shelley (Archer).

When Dilg discovers that Nora's summer tenant is the famed law professor Michael Lightcap (Colman), he and his defense lawyer Sam Yates (Edgar Buchanan) contrive to have the learned legal expert help prove Dilg's innocence. Of course, Lightcap wants no part of the case initially, but he's gradually won over, even if it requires shaving off his beard and pretending an interest in beauty shop owner Regina Bush (Glenda Farrell), the dead man's girlfriend who knows something that can help acquit Dilg.

The film manages to extol the American legal system, even while poking fun at it. As romantic comedies go, it's a lot of fun, too. Archer's Miss Shelley gets her affections caught between the two leads, and she's terribly cute throughout, stealing every scene she's in with them. This would make a delightful double feature with the following year's Jean Archer hit, "The More the Merrier."

Listed among Films Nominated for Best Picture

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