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The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 22 February 1935 (USA)
A meek milquetoast of a clerk is mistaken for Public Enemy #1, and the notorious killer takes advantage of the situation.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Jo Swerling (screen play), Robert Riskin (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Arthur Ferguson Jones / Killer Manion
Jean Arthur ... Miss Wilhelmina Clark
Arthur Hohl ... Detective Sergeant Boyle
James Donlan James Donlan ... Detective Sergeant Howe
Arthur Byron ... Spencer
Wallace Ford ... Healy
Donald Meek ... Hoyt
Etienne Girardot ... Seaver
Edward Brophy ... 'Slugs' Martin
Paul Harvey ... 'J.G.' Carpenter
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Storyline

Ordinary man-in-the-street Arthur Ferguson Jones leads a very straightforward life. He's never late for work and nothing interesting ever happens to him. One day everything changes: he oversleeps and is fired as an example, he's then mistaken for evil criminal killer Mannion and is arrested. The resemblance is so striking that the police give him a special pass to avoid a similar mistake. The real Mannion sees the opportunity to steal the pass and move around freely and chaos results. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kralj gangstera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is the inspiration for 1998 Bollywood movie 'Duplicate' starring Shah Rukh Khan in the double role. See more »

Goofs

When Jonesy leaves his apartment in a rush he forgets to turn off the taps and his tub is (torrentially) overflowing. But when he returns from the police much later in the day there is no water anywhere. See more »

Quotes

Healy: Who's been helping him write those stories?
Miss Clark: What do you mean, who's been helping him?
Healy: Where does a squirt like Jones get off writing all that juicy underworld lingo?
Miss Clark: From me, of course.
Healy: You certainly have horned in yourself properly, haven't you!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Porky's Double Trouble (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Robinson in "duel" roles
17 April 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

In 1933 Edward G. Robinson had finally essayed a comedy, THE LITTLE GIANT, with passable results. There he tackled the plot of a former racketeer discovering how unworthy the leaders of "good" society could actually be. The same type of a plot would be used again in Robinson's A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER. But in 1935 Robinson was able to tackle a variant on gangster comedy. It was closer to Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, as he played good guy wimp Arthur "Jonesy" Jones and public enemy # 1 Killer Mannion. Identical twins, they find they are drawn together by a physical chance. Mannion discovers that Jones looks so like him that he might be able to avoid police surveillance by switching places with Jones (who, for safety sake, won't try to stop him). Jones finds his job at jeopardy, his safety at jeopardy, and his girl friend "Bill" (Jean Arthur) possibly at jeopardy.

There are some choice moments in the film - Ed Brophy, as the chief witness against Mannion, wandering away to his doom accompanied by "Jonesy" (or was it "Jonesy"), and the antics of two particularly dull comic cops (James Donlon and - surprisingly bright in the role - Arthur Hohl). Robinson as patsy and fiend is equally effective, particularly as Mannion decides the time has come to get rid of his harmless doppelganger and take over his place in the world. But will he succeed...or will "Jonesy's" ineptitude and timidity upset his plans.

The director of the film was John Ford - it was his first film with either Robinson (who only showed up again in a supporting part in CHEYENNE AUTUMN)and his only one with Arthur. As such it reminds us of his film ARROWSMITH, which was his only film with Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes. In both cases he did well with his stars, and one wishes he had tried a second major film with Robinson, Arthur, Colman, and Hayes later on. But at least he did make these two films.


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