Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

 More 2 of 1,100 Print all In new window Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Review…………………………………………………………………….

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.

…………………………………………………………………….

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

…………………………………………………………………….

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.

…………………………………………………………………….

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.

…………………………………………………………………….

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.

…………………………………………………………………….

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

…………………………………………………………………….

Share

Lost Horizon (1937)

Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon Review

Lost Horizon is a 1937 film directed by Frank Capra and it is one of his more underappreciated and unknown works.

The story is about a plane crash where passengers find the perfect utopian society of Shangri-La in the mountains of Tibet. It is quite an intriguing storyline and rare for this period mostly thanks to politics and of course the setting. The first half on the plane, although somewhat extended, intrigues you and introduces you to the characters deftly. And the ending is great, very memorable and striking. But the biggest strength this story and the movie has is its smart approach with clever dialogue and many thought-provoking lines. It explores wonderfully the terms of utopia as well as today’s society comparing them and presenting Shangri-La in a great light.

It is filled with attention to detail, of course excellent direction from Frank Capra and the natural scenery is at times very beautiful. And thanks to great detail, Shangri-La is wonderfully thought-out and executed. Also the dialogue sequences between Chang, High Lama and the protagonist Robert Conway are the highlights because they show excellent screenplay in representing the history of Shangri-La and of course the personality clash exhibited between the two.

The character development in this movie is quite good, in some instances even great. Sondra and George are nothing to write home about, but the main character Robert Conway is beautifully developed and his different attitude towards the place and a personality that lends itself to it are superb ideas executed in a great way. High Lama and Chang also serve their purpose and are good characters. But Alexander P. Lovett and Henry Barnard are terrific and they absolutely steal the show. I know this isn’t a Disney movie, but I would definitely call those two comic reliefs because they truly are that. They are hilarious with their quarreling, Barny’s calling him Lovey is funny and their relationship overall is very comedic in tone and adds light to a film. And they can be seen in their behavior as an early gay couple which is also very interesting.

The acting is solid, but the performances that stand out are the same as the characters that stand out. Edward Everett Horton did a great job as memorable Lovey and of course Ronald Colman is very likable in the role of the protagonist and he gave a very good performance.

The action sequences are surprisingly good and the score is also solid. And the tone is mostly good, shifting from dramatic to comedic to spiritual. But the problems I have in this film are big. The first act definitely should have been shorter, some of the characters should have been better developed and the film never quite achieves its potential. And there are a lot of sequences that drag and slow the pace significantly.

All in all, Lost Horizon has its problems and it is of course nowhere near Capra’s best works, but it is also quite underrated with some great characters, great humor, amusing story with excellent dialogue and intriguing and very original premise and setting for the period.

My Rating – 4

Share