The Man Who Talked Too Much


1h 15m 1940
The Man Who Talked Too Much

Brief Synopsis

A defense lawyer sets out to topple a powerful gangster.

Film Details

Also Known As
Broadway Lawyer, The Sentence
Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
Jul 16, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Mouthpiece by Frank J. Collins (Brooklyn, NY, 10 Jun 1929).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

After Stephen Forbes helps send an innocent man to the electric chair, he resigns from the district attorney's office and goes into business for himself. When Steve defends a small businessman against a gangster and wins his case, he catches the attention of gangster J. B. Roscoe, who offers him work defending his men. Because he needs the money to keep his younger brother Johnny in law school, Steve agrees, becoming very wealthy from the work. After his graduation, Johnny joins Steve's firm. Gradually, he becomes aware of his brother's lack of ethics. Joan Reed, Steve's secretary, suggests to Johnny that they make it their business to keep Steve honest. Johnny is sickened when Steve drinks poison in court to prove that his client could not have murdered anyone with the contents of the bottle and then has his stomach pumped after the innocent verdict is read. Determined to save his brother from himself, Johnny gives the government crucial evidence of Roscoe's income tax evasion. Steve realizes that the information could only have come from Johnny, and to protect him, he tells Roscoe that he will no longer work for him. As revenge, Roscoe frames Johnny for a murder. Steve defends Johnny but loses his case. His only hope is to break the alibi of the man who actually committed the crime. With only minutes to spare before Johnny's execution, Steve gets a signed confession. The brothers are reconciled, and Steve is finished with his former life.

Cast

George Brent

Stephen Forbes

Virginia Bruce

Joan Reed

Brenda Marshall

Celia Farraday

Richard Barthelmess

J. B. Roscoe

William Lundigan

Johnny Forbes

George Tobias

Slug McNutt

John Litel

District Attorney Dickson

Henry Armetta

Tony Spirella

Alan Baxter

Joe Garland

David Bruce

Gerald Wilson

Clarence Kolb

E. A. Smith

Louis Jean Heydt

Barton

Marc Lawrence

Lefty Kyler

Edward Stanley

District Attorney Nelson

Kay Sutton

Mrs. Knight

Elliott Sullivan

Bill

Dick Rich

Pete

Phyllis Hamilton

Myrtle

John Ridgely

Brooks

William Forrest

Federal district attorney Green

Maris Wrixon

Roscoe's secretary

Dana Dale

Governor's secretary

Paul Phillips

Trigger

William Gould

Chief Kendall

De Wolfe Hopper

Reporter

George Haywood

Reporter

Creighton Hale

Reporter

Lottie Williams

Wilson's mother

Frank Mayo

Keeper

Emmett Vogan

Chaplain

Tom Wilson

Prisoner

Cliff Saum

Prisoner

Napoleon Simpson

Prisoner

Glen Cavender

Prisoner

Jack Richardson

Prisoner

Sally Sage

Operator

James Flavin

Deputy

Jack Mower

Deputy

Mary Gordon

Old woman

Rosina Galli

Mrs. Spirella

Harry Seymour

Painter

George Reeves

Hotel clerk

Thomas W. Ross

Judge

Howard Mitchell

Juryman

Jack Gardner

Juryman

Alexander Leftwich

Jury foreman

Peter Ashley

Assistant to District Attorney

George Kirby

Roscoe's butler

Herbert Anderson

Hotel night clerk

Paul Ravel

Miller

Eddie Foster

Weinstein

Frank Bruno

Griswold

Alan Davis

Whitey

Douglas Wood

Judge

John Hamilton

Governor

Sam Mcdaniel

Porter

James Blaine

Guard

Ruth Robinson

Housekeeper

Vera Lewis

Suzanne Carnahan

Charles Sherlock

Film Details

Also Known As
Broadway Lawyer, The Sentence
Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
Jul 16, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Mouthpiece by Frank J. Collins (Brooklyn, NY, 10 Jun 1929).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

The Man Who Talked Too Much


The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940) is the first remake of the 1932 courtroom drama The Mouthpiece, based on the controversial 'attorney to the underworld' William J. Fallon. The Fallon character was played by the iconic Warren William in the original, while a second remake Illegal (1955) became a late-career vehicle for Edward G. Robinson. Normally associated with straight-arrow nice guys, George Brent stars as D.A. Stephen Forbes, who inadvertently sends an innocent man to the chair. Unable to put his idealistic little brother Johnny (William Lundigan) through school, Stephen goes crooked, using courtroom tricks to benefit gangster Roscoe (Richard Barthelmess, in one of his last roles). For one of his courtroom gimmicks, Forbes drops a professional boxer with one punch, but is secretly using brass knuckles. The idealistic younger brother Johnny is a new addition to the story, serving as a moral spokesman and to spur Forbes' guilty conscience. When Roscoe frames Johnny for murder, the desperate Forbes must use his legal talent in a case that really means something to him. Reviewers thought that Richard Barthelmess's mob chieftain was far too soft-spoken, and noted that actresses Virginia Bruce and Brenda Marshall had little to do. But all mentioned the good direction of Vincent Sherman and reserved special praise for George Tobias, whose comic relief henchman Slug McNutt steals every scene he's in.

By Glenn Erickson
The Man Who Talked Too Much

The Man Who Talked Too Much

The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940) is the first remake of the 1932 courtroom drama The Mouthpiece, based on the controversial 'attorney to the underworld' William J. Fallon. The Fallon character was played by the iconic Warren William in the original, while a second remake Illegal (1955) became a late-career vehicle for Edward G. Robinson. Normally associated with straight-arrow nice guys, George Brent stars as D.A. Stephen Forbes, who inadvertently sends an innocent man to the chair. Unable to put his idealistic little brother Johnny (William Lundigan) through school, Stephen goes crooked, using courtroom tricks to benefit gangster Roscoe (Richard Barthelmess, in one of his last roles). For one of his courtroom gimmicks, Forbes drops a professional boxer with one punch, but is secretly using brass knuckles. The idealistic younger brother Johnny is a new addition to the story, serving as a moral spokesman and to spur Forbes' guilty conscience. When Roscoe frames Johnny for murder, the desperate Forbes must use his legal talent in a case that really means something to him. Reviewers thought that Richard Barthelmess's mob chieftain was far too soft-spoken, and noted that actresses Virginia Bruce and Brenda Marshall had little to do. But all mentioned the good direction of Vincent Sherman and reserved special praise for George Tobias, whose comic relief henchman Slug McNutt steals every scene he's in. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

George Reeves' role as the first hotel clerk was filmed but cut.

The script was unfinished at the start of production and was revised throughout.

The original play opened in Brooklyn, N.Y. on 10 June 1929.

Notes

The working titles of this picture were The Sentence and Broadway Lawyer. Although the onscreen credits attribute the screenplay to Walter DeLeon and Earl Baldwin, the Film Daily, Motion Picture Herald and Variety reviews give screenplay credit to DeLeon and Tom Reed. In the copyright records, Reed's name is deleted and replaced with that of Baldwin; Reed is not credited in Screen Achievements Bulletin. The 1932 Warner Bros. film The Mouthpiece was also based on Frank L. Collins' play (see below). For information on other filmed adaptations of the Collins play for The Mouthpiece.