Our Town was originally a very successful play on Broadway — winning the 1938 Pulitzer Prize in its first run, and eventually a Tony award in a 1989 revival — and it translated really well to film. It told the story of Grover's Corners, and the lives, loves, and deaths of its citizens between 1901 and 1913.
It's loaded with theatrical devices, like setting the play in the actual theater where it's being performed, and the character of the stage manager constantly breaking the fourth wall to directly address the audience.
Thornton Wilder wrote the play in 1938 because he was profoundly dissatisfied with the theatre of the day, stating "I started to feel that theatre was not only inadequate, but that it was evasive. Something had gone wrong." So he made Our Town blatantly non-theatrical. There are hardly any props or scenery, and the actors will mime a lot of the actions. He said to perform it correctly, it should be done "without sentimentality or ponderousness, and should be done simply, dryly, and sincerely."
This week on Flicks in Five, we'll hear some of Aaron Copland's Oscar-nominated score from the 1940 film version of Our Town.