18 November 2020 | SimonJack
A light comedy drama about the local weekly press in post-war England
Made at Pinewood Studios, this British film was produced by a small film company that made just a dozen or so movies from 1949 to 1962. As with most such films and endeavors, the casts don't usually have big name stars or even well know supporting actors of the time. The cast of "All Over the Town" will hardly be recognized outside of the UK, with the exception of Cyril Cusack. Still, this ensemble of characters does a fine job in this story set in a fictitious town on the English coast.
The promo for the film plays up exposure of some corruption in the small town of Tormouth, but that is just a small part that serves as the climax to the story. The film is about a town native returning home after the war and getting his job back as the "star" reporter on the weekly Clarion newspaper. Such weekly papers were printed in small towns all across England, Canada, the U.S.A. and many European countries through the 20th century. With the coming of the Internet and rapid growth of electronic technology, many small papers have gone out of business. Even large daily papers have declined as print news readership overall continues to decline. Very few films have been made with weekly newspaper production a core part of the story.
Norman Wooland plays the returning veteran, Nat Hearn. Sarah Churchill is Sally Thorpe, a local young lady who had taken over the star reporter role during the war. The plot is a good mix of light comedy, drama and a slowly developing love story. It portrays the type of reporting, news, and printing of the local nature that the big city newspapers don't provide - or even consider news. By the same token, the small towns and weekly papers are challenged to have much of real news to report. Changes occur after Nat's return and the death of the publisher of the town paper.
This is a nice picture of the small-town press and its role and service in the community. Its regular fodder includes the vital statistics (birth, deaths), accidents and illnesses, local visits, social events, family items, legal notices, sports and club activities and reviewing the local theater production and covering the town council meetings.
As a former newspaperman, I particularly enjoyed the scenes showing some of the antiquated printing presses used in the past - including an old flatbed press and an ancient hand press.
Here are some favorite lines from the film.
Mr. Vince, "You make him, miss. He'll listen to a skirt."
Sally Thorpe, "Why don't you chuck it and get out?" Nat Hearn, "Because it's not the answer. There's nothing wrong with the people. They're the same town that fought the war. All they want is someone to take an interest in their own affairs. Anything wrong with that?" Sally, "Nothing. Only I'm afraid you're in for a big disappointment." Nat, "Perhaps I am."
Sally Thorpe, "You're a bit of a mystery to me. You oughtn't be a nice person at all, but you are. Rather." Nat Hearn, "I just believe in people, that's all. Seems a pity you don't."