Monthly Archives: June 2015

People Will Talk: Not What You’d Expect from 1951

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People Will Talk (1952 NR) is a movie with an unexpected take on pregnancy.  My impression of 1950’s movies and TV is that pregnancy and sex was not even spoken of.

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In The Quiet Man (1952 NR) wife Maureen O-Hara desperately seeks advice from her priest, yet speaks in native Gaelic, and the audience must guess she is asking why her new husband John Wayne doesn’t sleep in bed with her.

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In TV’s I Love Lucy (1951-1957), Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are married, yet sleep in separate beds.

In our movie, Cary Grant plays compassionate, if unconventional, Dr. Praetorius. Isn’t he dreamy?

His patient, Deborah (Jeanne Crain), is distressed to find she is pregnant out of wedlock.

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The surprising thing to me, with my impression of the 1950’s, is the vocabulary they use.  Pregnant!  Not married!  A whole discussion about telling her father!

The good doctor saves the girl from shame by marrying her.  He works it so she doesn’t know that is what he is doing.  What a nice doctor!

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The bulk of the movie is about the mysterious friend the doctor has (Finlay Currie) and the jealous colleague (Hume Cronyn) who tries to ruin the doctor.  An uneven film, but Cary Grant is always fun to watch.

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The Girls Who Went Away, by Ann Fessler (2006), is a well researched book that tells the true story of how unwed pregnancy was handled in the 1950’s-1970’s.  Most often, girls who found themselves pregnant and not married were sent to out-of-town relatives or even a sort of group home to wait until they could give up their newborn babies for adoption.  Secrecy and shame often accompanied these girls.  Read this powerful book.

Even though Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds, Lucy still gets pregnant.  Share their joy in this clip!

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Filed under Cary Grant, Movies, People Will Talk