The Talk of the Town

Synopsis: In suburban Lochester, New England, three people end up living together in high school teacher Nora Shelley's rental house. The first is her new tenant, renowned Harvard law professor Michael Lightcap, who has rented the house for the summer while he writes his new book. The second is Nora herself. Despite having an auspicious first meeting, Lightcap hires Nora to be his live-in cook and secretary for a week until his manservant Tilney arrives. The third is Joseph, the property's gardener, who is currently laid up with a sprained ankle. In reality, Joseph is Nora's childhood friend Leopold Dilg, who has just escaped from prison. Leopold was being tried for the arson of the factory where he worked, and for murder for the death of the factory foreman Clyde Bracken, whose body was never recovered but who is assumed to have died in the fire. Despite the danger to herself, Nora hides Leopold since she believes his story that although he, as an activist, did speak out about the dangerous con
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): George Stevens
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min


I'm convinced that this fire

was deliberately set.

But by who, Mr. Holmes?

By who?

- Dilg escaped?

- Escaped?

- Miss Shelley...

- One move and I'll brain you.

- I'd appreciate the keys to your car.

- Get out of here, Leopold Dilg.

- I'm sorry, but it's important.

- I'm warning you!

Dilg! Dilg!

Excuse me.

Dilg, what are you doing here?

You broke out of jail.

In passing, it was necessary

to hit me on the skull.

You fool, the whole police force

must be looking for you.

The whole country.

I'd like to stay here.

You can't. I'm fixing this house up

for rent. It'll be occupied tomorrow.

Why did you escape?

You've got to leave.

Come on, please.

What's the matter?

My ankle.

Oh, my gosh! How far do you expect

to get with that?

And where are you going?

I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Why didn't you think of that

in the first place?

Miss Shelley, do you believe

I could burn down a factory?

You're crying.

One day you love the whole world,

and all of a sudden, every...

No! Get upstairs, quick.


I want you to go in the attic

and keep quiet, understand?

Close that door behind you.

Good evening.

- I am Michael Lightcap.

- Michael Lightcap?

You're supposed to arrive tomorrow.

Your secretary...

My secretary is getting married.

Nothing deranges a woman's mind more.

My entire life has been in complete

confusion for the last two months.

- You must be the person we spoke with.

- Yes, Nora Shelley.

How do you do, Miss Shelley?

An excellent name.

- Yes. It's raining, isn't it?

- Definitely.

We're having an early summer.

Could we talk inside?

It's rather damp out here.

Nothing is ready. I thought tomorrow

about noon... I suggest a hotel.

I planned to spend the night here,

so I'll spend the night here.

Standing under an open umbrella inside,

bad luck. Silly superstition, isn't it?

Still, in a new, strange house,

you never know what's liable to turn up.

- I've had that umbrella 11 years.

- I'm so sorry.

You have a nervous, impulsive quality

that I find in many of my students.

- Disease of the age.

- Yes, sir.

I'll get my bags.

Get up in the attic. Didn't you hear?

That's the new tenant!

You shouldn't have

broken his umbrella.

Get up in the attic.

Do you know who he is?

He's a legal genius,

Dean of Commonwealth Law School.

He eats with the governor.

He writes to the president.

Yeah, a very cold character,

Mr. Lightcap.

He's back.

Now remember, keep quiet.

- Later, out you go.

- I wonder where.

Oh, darn.

- Hello.

- Why did you lock the door?

Did I? Why, isn't that queer?

There seems to be a strange atmosphere

hanging over this house.

Soon as I get the curtains up

it'll be all right.


You're a very sarcastic man,

aren't you?

I've just finished teaching,

for nine months...

...400 weary young men

the rudiments of law.

I drove all the way down here myself...

...because my man went to see

his ailing mother in West Virginia.

I had a long, hard trip and was looking

forward to a cheerful, bright house...

...a warm bed. And I find myself,

on a rainy night, in this shambles.

I must confess, Miss Shelley, I've never

seen such monumental inefficiency.

Why didn't you tell your secretary to

get things right before she ran off?

Is it my fault you came

barging in here 24 hours early?

If you'd come tomorrow, it would have

been efficiently whipped together.

It would've been cheerful and bright.

- Are you through?

- Yes.

There's justice in what you say,

but the violence with which...

- I'm sorry, but...

- I accept your apology. Accept mine.

Is there a bedroom in the house

fit to be slept in?

- The master bedroom is quite fit.

- Thank you.

- I'll show you where it is.

- No, I can find it.

- It's on the second floor.

- Yes. Good night, Miss Shelley.

I'd better stay and finish this job,

if you don't mind.

I'd rather you leave everything

as it is and go home. Good night.

- Right in there.

- Thank you. Good night.

I forgot my hat and coat.

Would you please close the front door

noiselessly when you leave?

Hey, where are you?

I was going to break your neck.

Lucky you spoke.

Yes, it certainly was.

All right, he's asleep now.

You used to live here with your mother,

didn't you?

Yes. We live in town now

and rent this place.

Come on, get up.

You can make it if you go quietly.

My ankle is so swollen now,

I couldn't walk five yards.

Why does everything happen to me?

What will you do?

You can't stay here.

You're still the prettiest girl

in Lochester.

Now, look. This escape was insane.

You haven't been convicted yet.

Go on back.

Maybe they won't convict you.

The first day I saw the faces

of those 12 citizens on the jury...

...I knew my goose was cooked.

They don't like me.

What do you suppose they think

after this jailbreak?

That you're guilty.

It's possible I am, don't you think?

Maybe, maybe not.

As far as I know, you're capable

of anything, even burning a factory.

You were the wildest kid that ever went

to a Lochester school.

You wore pigtails then.

I was in love with you.

Always collecting a bad reputation,

even after you grew up.

Speeches on street corners, petitions.

Any kind of a squawk,

Dilg's right in the middle of it.

This was bound to happen.

What's wrong with you, anyway?

It's a form of self-expression.

Some people write books, some music.

I make speeches on street corners.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Irwin Shaw

Irwin Shaw (February 27, 1913 – May 16, 1984) was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for two of his novels: The Young Lions (1948), about the fate of three soldiers during World War II, made into a film of the same name starring Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970), about the fate of two siblings after World War II. In 1976, a popular miniseries was made into a highly popular miniseries starring Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, and Susan Blakely. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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