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Magic Town (1947)

Magic Town poster.jpg

I once had the distinct unpleasure of attending a scriptwriting course hosted by a sociopathic tutor who insisted that this was made by Frank Capra. It only seems like that because it was written by Robert Riskin, who was the man who more or less gave that narcissistic director the right to use The Name Above The Title, a highly ironic soubriquet, and particularly interesting if you read the magisterial biography of Riskin by Ian Scott, possibly the best ever book about a screenwriter. This is directed by William ‘Wild Bill’ Wellman, which that unpleasant woman simply decided not to hear because it did not fit into her own auteurist orientations. Maybe the presence of James Stewart as a pollster distracted her. He finds the sociologically average American town, a journalist with whom he gets romantically involved discovers he is not in fact an insurance man, she goes public and the town is made a mockery. A fascinating satire of the postwar era in the United States. And you know what, the poster tells you whose name should be Above The Title:  it reads ‘Robert Riskin’s Magic Town‘.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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