The Talk of the Town ★★★★

"I'd say that two men liking borscht with an egg in it is amazing. I've never heard of such a thing before."

"This is your law and your finest possession. It makes you free men in a free country. Why have you come here to destroy it? ... Think of this country and of the law that makes it what it is. Think of a world crying for this very law. Then maybe you'll understand why you ought to guard it."

Yikes, talk about a rough beginning. Two minutes into the movie, and Cary Grant (Leopold Dilg) has already been falsely accused of a crime, tried for murder, and nearly put on death row. Things do eventually cool down after that start, and the majority of the movie is a much lighter tone. In fact, it got so carefree for so long that I was starting to wonder if there would be much of a climax at the end. Impressively, I was actually quite on edge when that mob stormed the courtroom towards the end. It wasn't quite as intense as the mob scenes in M, but it really did manage a powerful ending.

And once again, Jean Arthur is just so much fun to watch. When everyone around her is piling it on, she knows just how to give it right back in such a playful manner. At first I wasn't impressed with Cary Grant in this one, but he really does pick it up a bit in the second half. Likewise, I was really annoyed by Ronald Colman (professor Michael Lightcap) early on, but his character's transformation does make him much more likable by the film's end. The whole love triangle didn't feel entirely necessary, but it was at least interesting how they managed to keep it a mystery who would end up with whom until the very end.

Overall, this is an interesting little look at the opposite ends of the spectrum of justice. On one hand, you have Lightcap representing a strict adherence to the rule of law (a good trait in a Supreme Court candidate, I'd argue). But, at the same time, he becomes aware of the miscarriage of justice that is happening. He wants to help fix it, but he has to go about it in a way that doesn't circumvent the law so much as poke holes at its weak points in an effort to right a wrong. The alternative here is portrayed as the angry mob trying to take justice into its own hands, which receives a stern warning from Lightcap in the film's final act.

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