Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Review

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur. It is such a great Capra film, so wonderful.

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

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

It is about a good-natured, great man who comes to New York from a small town after he inherits a large sum of money. But the people start taking advantage of him and a woman for whom he develops feelings for is just using him for publicity at the beginning. Now, I perfectly understand why this film may seem corny and too lighthearted and inspirational for today’s cynical audience. However, to me it was great as is almost every film from this director. I find his optimism and faith in human kind refreshing and this is a great showcase of that.

Everything here works in terms of storytelling. It has a great beginning and a fantastic ending and it succeeds in all of its sometimes quite different parts. The romantic elements are wonderful and moving. The comedy is great owing to some spectacular humor at display. And the courtroom drama third act is probably the highlight, hilarious, so well crafted and just fantastic.

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The film succeeds because of its characters as well. All of them are superbly developed and all of them got some great moments. Cobb is such a great man, Cedar serves as the opposite of that and of course those various people who gave testimonies at the court were so memorable and funny. Babe is wonderful. She is such a likable woman and I loved the relationship between the two. The romance here is truly gorgeous and so well realized.

Longfellow Deeds has a very odd name for sure, but his personality is just the opposite. It may seem odd to some, but I personally found him great and I still believe there are people like him in this world. He is charming and warm, but also  has a great soul and is just an exceptional human being. That is the point of the movie – it shows us how people such as him can’t survive in this cruel/cold world and that is even more true for today’s time filled with even more cynical and selfish people. But what I loved about his characterization is the fact that he still isn’t perfect as sometimes he acted like a jerk and he actually punched people whenever he was angry in the film’s major running gag.

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Let’s talk about the acting. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is one of the best acted movies of the year and it truly is exceptional in its cast and performances. Lionel Stander and Douglass Dumbrille are quite good and H.B. Warner as the judge is also really good. But let’s praise these two leads. Jean Arthur is just wonderful. She gave a great, subtle performance and was shamefully snubbed for an Oscar. But this is Gary Cooper’s show and he gave one of his very best performances here. His facial expressions, his eyes, his speeches and emotional scenes, everything is beyond stellar and I can’t believe that he didn’t get an Oscar for this movie. Such a bad decision from the Academy! Both of them are a great couple, such charming and really good looking people.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town definitely has its problems which is why it isn’t one of the director’s finest works. The script is very clichéd admittedly and it is quite predictable. That didn’t bother me as much because when the film is this well executed, it almost doesn’t matter. But it still must be mentioned. But the bigger problem is the film’s very odd and I have to say at times frustrating structure. The film is a romantic comedy in its first half and in its second is pure comedy and also courtroom drama or should I say courtroom comedy as those sequences are the most hilarious ones here. But I felt that entire part about the poor coming to his house and him helping them came out of nowhere and was unrealistic. It was beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But still not real. And again it should have been touched upon before and therefore you almost have two movies in here instead of two well connected subplots.

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The movie is so well directed by Frank Capra who is one of my all time favorite directors. It isn’t one of his best, but is one of his better works for sure. It is well shot and so well paced. Its running time is two hours and it never felt boring to me as I was fully invested in it how great it was. The dialogue is so snappy and wonderfully sophisticated. And the humor is just amazing! The entire courtroom part is so great and so hilarious. Those two women with their word pixilated were hilarious, all of the people who talked about the protagonist were at least mildly funny and the entire situation produced some very amusing screwball moments. The humor here is fast, clever and exceptionally strong. The movie also works perfectly as a fairy tale because, let’s face it, it doesn’t feel real. But I loved it all the more for it and it is one of the best films of the year without a doubt.

Immensely charming, funny and at times even hilarious, heartwarming and wonderfully inspirational and optimistic, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is predictable and it lacks a unifying structure, but the direction from Frank Capra is expectedly stellar and the performances from Jean Arthur and Gary Cooper are phenomenal and he in particular shamefully lost at the Oscars as his performance here is just amazing. The film has such a strong humor, especially in those courtroom scenes, the romance is so good and the film is touching and just beautiful.

My Rating – 4.5

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Posted in 1936, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, Romantic Comedy and tagged , , , , , .

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