This week’s selection as part of Todd Mason’s ongoing blog series is one that I have wanted to discuss for a while. I am referring to Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s People Will Talk from 1951. The film stars Cary Grant (Dr. Noah Praetorius) a doctor dedicated to a holistic, humanist approach to patient care and Jeanne Crain (as Deborah Higgins) a troubled young woman who finds herself in his care.
Among the supporting players we have Walter Slezak, Dr. Praetorius’ confidant and Hume Cronyn, a fellow physician who finds Praetorius’ methods and popularity among the students very distressing. And finally there is Shunderson (Finlay Currie), the doctor’s right hand man who has a very mysterious past.
What I always found strange about this film is that by all appearances, it posits itself as a romantic comedy (see poster below). However, you do not have to go that deep (just sit down and watch it actually) to see that the film is quite dark; in fact, it deals with a few ideas that I would imagine were taboo at the time – namely suicide and an unplanned pregnancy. Heavy stuff indeed.
As with any Mankiewicz piece, the writing (he is a credited co-writer as well as director) is clever and witty, despite the subject matter.
Have you seen this? Let me know what you think below …