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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Magic Town (1947)

An ambitious pollster and statistician (James Stewart) discovers a small town whose population reflects the opinions of the nation at large exactly. He moves to the town under the guise of an insurance salesman and becomes part of the town. But the town's newspaper editor (Jane Wyman) eventually discovers what he's up to and the result is disastrous. Although directed by William A. Wellman (THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY), this feels like pure Frank Capra. Not surprising considering the film's writer and producer Robert Riskin wrote some of Capra's most well known films like MEET JOHN DOE and MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN. I'm not a fan of Capracorn and this film is full of it (in more ways than one)! It's shamelessly sentimental in its view of small town America. There's a scene where the townspeople gather and sing a soppy high school song that goes on forever. I think we're supposed to be moved. We're also somehow supposed to feel proud of the townspeople who finally band together to make their town great again but it was their stupidity and greed which ran it into the ground in the first place! Stewart is at his "James Stewart" worst but Wyman manages not to embarrass herself. If you like Capracorn, by all means, indulge. If you don't .... forget it. With Kent Smith, Wallace Ford, Ann Shoemaker, Regis Toomey, Ann Doran, Donald Meek and Julia Dean. 

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