THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING (1935) B/W 95m dir: John Ford
w/Edward G. Robinson, Jean Arthur, Arthur Hohl, Wallace Ford, A.S. Byron, Donald Meek, Paul Harvey, Edward Brophy, Etienne Girardot, James Donlan
Edward G. Robinson in a dual role, as a meek clerk who is mistaken for Public Enemy Number 1.
From The Movie Guide: "One of the most underrated of John Ford's early films, THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING is a marvelous gangster film told in a comic vein and sporting a superb performance from Edward G. Robinson ....
"Adapted by screenwriters Jo Swerling and Robert Riskin from a story by W.R. Burnett (who wrote the novel Little Caesar), THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING is a masterful balance of comedy and drama with a very dark subtext. Robinson the clerk and Robinson the gangster are two sides of the same coin. The clerk is a milquetoast who can't bring himself to tell the woman he loves how he feels about her, but once he dons the identity of the gangster and orders a man to be killed, he is suddenly infused with self-confidence and power which finally enable him to speak his mind and take action. Though the film is essentially a comedy and Robinson the clerk's actions are well enough motivated for his character to remain sympathetic, it is an undeniably chilling and ambiguous moment. Robinson handles the role beautifully, bringing several shadings and subtleties to a double role that could easily have disintegrated into gimmicky silliness. Because of the ambiguity and subtler handing of the darker aspects of the story, director Ford and actor Robinson turned what could have been dismissed as just another light, frivolous entertainment into an evocative work of art."