Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Director: Frank Capra
USA 1936
115 min

Mr. Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) lives a quiet life in Mandrake Falls, Vermont, making his living by writing postcard poetry and playing the tuba in the town band. One day he inherits a fortune from a wealthy uncle. The deceased man's lawyer and a press agent pick up Mr. Deeds in Mandrake Falls and take him to New York City.

A farewell to Mandrake Falls.

Oh, that beautiful Gary Cooper. Give me him.

The day after the night before.

Scene: Mr. Deeds plays the tuba, chases the butler Walter (Raymond Walburn) and is fascinated by the echo.

Soon Mr. Deeds is bored with all responsibilities his wealth means and is longing to go back to Mandrake Falls. But then he meets Louise "Babe" Bennett (Jean Arthur), a cute big town lady in distress. She makes him happier - he becomes interested in her and spends a lot of time with her.

Cute Jean Arthur with her squeaky frog-like voice.

What he doesn't know about Miss Bennett is that she actually is a hot-shot reporter, who only wants to come close to him so that she can write articles about Longfellow Deeds, who's inheritance has become big news in New York.
Her plan goes along just fine, re-naming Mr. Deeds in the newspapers as "The Cinderella Man". Her articles are popular, and soon all the town is laughing behind Mr. Deeds' back and spread rumours about him.
However, Miss Bennett's feelings towards Mr. Deeds start to change, and soon her guilty conscience gives her a hard time to continue her writing.

At the News Office.

Guilty conscience.

Confession over the phone.

Mr. Deeds realizes that he has been cheated by Miss Bennett and stops seeing her. He feels that living as a wealthy big town man isn't the life he wants to live, and decides to give away his fortune to the starving farmers who lost all their money during the Depression.
But another problem arises. There is another man who also was the nephew of the deceased millionaire. He and his wife sees their chance to get a hold of the fortune by suing Mr. Deeds for being to mentally unstable to take care of that large amount of money.
After all - what normal man would want to give away an entire fortune?

The newspapers catch up everything Mr. Deeds do.

Mr. Deeds gets arrested due to insanity.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town ends with a brilliant court room scene, which at first seems hopeless. Mr. Deeds has lost all his hope in his fellow men and listens to the charges without contradiction, a dejected expression on his face and with his head leaning on his hand.
The prosecutor points out Mr. Deeds peculiar behaviour (including the feeding of donuts to a horse and playing the tuba in strange situations). A professor states that Mr. Deeds suffers from manic depression.

The trial has started.

A professor states that Mr. Deeds suffer from manic depression.

Among the audience is Miss Bennett, who during the the trial make several outbursts to the foul accusations. After a while Mr. Deeds gathers enough energy to defend himself, pointing out other peoples peculiar behaviours and explaining his own.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is, like most of Frank Capra's pictures, a sweet and funny film with depth. And in the usual Capra way, the moral of the story becomes very obvious to the viewer. As Mr. Deeds himself states:

"People here are funny. They work so hard at living they forget how to live"


What more can I say? This is a typical feel-good film, who also makes you consider what real life really is about and what you want to fill it with. I recommend Mr. Deeds Goes to Town for the lonely person, for the the-day-after-the-night-before person, the loving couple, the hating couple, the cineast and the movie hater. But for the love of God - don't see the one with Adam Sandler. Makes you feel sick.


Longfellow Deeds
: He talks about women as if they were cattle.
Walter: Every man to his taste, sir.
Longfellow Deeds: Tell me, Walter, are all these stories I hear about my uncle true?
Walter: Well, sir, he sometimes had as many as twenty in the house at the same time.
Longfellow Deeds: Twenty! What did he do with them?
Walter: That is something I was never able to find out, sir.

Louise "Babe" Bennett: That guy is either the dumbest, stupidest, most imbecilic idiot in the world, or else he's the grandest thing alive. I can't make him out.

John Cedar: [giving his name card to Deeds] I'm John Cedar, of the New York firm of Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington.
Longfellow Deeds:Budington must feel like an awful stranger.

Longfellow Deeds: About my playing the tuba. Seems like a lot of fuss has been made about that. If, if a man's crazy just because he plays the tuba, then somebody'd better look into it, because there are a lot of tuba players running around loose. 'Course, I don't see any harm in it. I play mine whenever I want to concentrate. That may sound funny to some people, but everybody does something silly when they're thinking. For instance, the judge here is, is an O-filler.
Judge May: A what?
Longfellow Deeds: An O-filler. You fill in all the spaces in the O's with your pencil. I was watching him.

All blog posts should end with a Hollywood kiss.


Millie said...

I love this movie!

My favorite line (and I use it quite often) is when the old ladies say, "He's pixilated all right!"

Elizabeth said...

"Mr Deeds Goes to Town" has to be one of my favorite movies. I love the dialogue, and Jean Arthur is very stylish!

Anonymous said...

This movie is hilarious!! Wonderful movie :)

Kate Gabrielle said...

wonderful review! i just re-watched it last night on TCM and it's been on my mind all day.

Paul Brazill said...

Smashing article.

Lolita said...

Haha, oh yes! Very pixilated!

It is a wonderful film, indeed. And even though Gary Cooper is more cute than sexy in it, I still want to eat him up.

You've got taste, my dear Portuguese!

Kate Gabrielle:
What a coincidence! I hope I can continue with the mind-reading!

Paul Brazill:
Thank you ever so much!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I tottaly agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

Anonymous said...

I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link

Reel Popcorn Junkie said...

Here's another great line from Deeds when he describes lawyer John Cedar: "Even his hands are oily." Zing.