1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A thing of beauty"
This is a terrific movie about a man who is literally plucked from his quiet small town life and brought to New York to deal with newly inherited millions. The Gary Cooper character is brave, strong, insightful, and most of all kind EXCEPT when it comes to the legions of snobs, phonies, and crooks he encounters in New York. The first time I saw this movie I couldn't...
Published on Sep 6 2002 by R. Plemmons
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Capra Goes Overboard
Director Frank Capra's work doesn't hold up as well today as some of his contemporaries' because of his habit of over-inflating his scripts. "Deeds" starts out wonderfully well when the tuba-playing small-town yeoman Gary Cooper inherits a fortune and heads for the big city to look into it. But Capra can't leave well enough alone and transforms the funny...
Published on July 11 2004
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving Capresque flick,
This review is from: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Full Screen) (DVD)MY RATING- 7.8
This is quite a moving tale a la american by the master of socio drama, Frank Capra in which he uses one of his fave actors Gary Cooper as the country man who inherits a fortune from a rich uncle and is double crossed in the city. I never enjoyed the first roles of Cooper in MOROCCO, yet it looks like he's been improving his acting over the years and his eyes seem to be brighter and emotional with Capra efforts. Jean Arthur is very good too with her sexy voice and tender love. The cast also includes H. B. Warner as the judge and Lionel Stander as Deeds gardian angel with that frog voice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A thing of beauty",
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie but He'dd be jailed or medicated today.,
Gary Cooper pulls off this movie with his stoic charm. His supporting cast is admirable with the best being Lionel Stander as the street savvy Cornelius Cobb who watchs over him. Jean Arthur plays basically the same role as Mr. Smith goes to washington and is just as good. The whole supporting cast is good and the old ladies at the end are a riot.
The plot line revolves about many different people trying to use him for a sap, and Deeds refusing to fall for it using simple common sense. Time and again he says what most people know but are unwilling to admit in order to seem "open minded". (I'm reminded of a quote who's author I can't recall saying some people are so open minded that they won't take their own side in an arguement"
This movie is very topical for today although I think he would be arrested or comitted or considered judgemental, but rather than getting into the cultural aspects, let me just say that Capra as he always did made movies about the human condition that will never be irrelevent.
A classic buy it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Will this hometown"hick"get the better of NYC?,
The plot involves Cooper who is the hometown "poet laureate",so to speak.He devises and writes poems for greeting cards on a regular basis.In his off times he plays tuba in the local band and is a volunteer fire captain.Off in faraway Italy an uncle,whom he has had little to do with his entire life,dies in an auto accident and bequeaths his substantial fortune of $20 million to him alone.The uncle's attorney's switch into high gear in NYC and are determined to get his signature on paper so they may become his legal reps;so they may take him for all he is now worth.They personally bring him to NYC,trying to coerce him every step of the way to sign them up.Soon Deeds is slowly but surely being inundated with either claims to his fortune and/or people who just plain want what he has.
The newspapers are extremely curious as to what this guy is all about and they assign their toughest reporter to the case,Arthur.She gets in solid with Cooper who at first does not suspect a thing,as headline after headline appears in the paper each day,detailing his latest exploits.Over time Arthur falls for Cooper,and visa versa,but Arthur is having second thoughts about the whole thing.Before she can explain herself and finally come clean to Deeds,he finds out,and is naturally devastated.Also around this time Deeds comes close to becoming a walking piece of Swiss Cheese when a down and outer(remember,this is the Depression)who is desperate and hungry,waives a gun his way.He ends up feeding the man and decides then and there to give his money away by purchasing some land and giving around 2,000 people the chance to farm and eventually own it.
The attorneys who have been so eager to sign him up,now turn on him and he is arrested and put on trial as insane.At the hearing he is at first reluctant to say anything,much to the chagrin of his many new found friends who attend in droves,along with Arthur and her editor.Just as it looks the bleakest Deeds finally relents and testifies.His words dispel the myths and lies of others and he is eventually free of all charges.Deeds is carried out by his throng of friends as Arthur sits and cries.In a few moments Deeds rushes back into the courtroom,locking its doors behind him.He picks up Arthur and they kiss as the camera fades out.
As the films two mains stars are as believable as apple pie,so are its myriad of co stars.Douglass Dumbrille as the nasty attorney,Lionel Stander as Coopers "guard",HB Warner as the judge,Ruth Donnelly as Arthurs roommate,and so many others.Watch for ex Keystone comics Bobby Dunn and Billy Bevan in uncredited roles.It is a solid supporting cast from A-Z.This is one of those rare films where the most important elements,the cast and its chemistry and the plot on hand,just seem to meld together in perfect harmony.
Technically speaking the film is clear and crisp,but this is a film that,and it is hard to believe, had to be restored,not by the very company who owned it,but by the Library of Congress.As with many films of this period that were later loaned out to TV,the film's prints and negatives became over used and truncated and fell into a terrible state of disrepair.One cannot fathom letting films of this quality go into such disuse but they have and we have lost an untold number this way,and by such major studios who have grossly under estimated the value of what they have had and/or have been cash strapped and sold the negatives for their intrinsic value.Whatever the case here,we are very fortunate some agency stepped in to preserve this classic film from obscurity.So when you watch this you will see some inherent defects such as graininess,slight scratching and emulsion deterioration.It says it has been remastered but it needs a better treatment than what we have here. Extras include commentary,a short featurette with Frank Capra's son,trailers and theatre posters.
In conclusion you couldn't ask for a better film.This is Capra at his best and it showcases its stars to the hilt.With a wonderful supporting cast and plot it's a winner all the way.Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars better than the sandler version,
This review is from: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Full Screen) (DVD)This is a great movie. The Adam Sandler version might be funnier in a silly, mindless way, but this movie makes a point that too many people forget. People who criticize this movie as naive or propaganda have bought into too much capitalist propaganda. The only people who wouldn't like the message this movie makes are slaveholders and feudal barons. Beautiful movie making a point that we should all remember in our daily life. When Deeds' assistant comments on the difficulty of feeding all of the farmers ("there's 2000 of them"), Deeds replies "that doesn't make them any less hungry." This movie isn't naive. It should simply remind us of how to be human. Its a shame that the message even needs to be said or that the Sandler version would suck the beauty out of it for a cheap lines from a hispanic butler.
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the Big City.,
This review is from: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Full Screen) (DVD)This original film opened in 1936, starring Gary Cooper a country bumpkin from an obscure new England town, who has just found out he is the beneficiary of a fortune, left to him by a long lost relative. He is about to let loose his wild and untapped spirit in New York where his very sanity will be an issue. Love is waiting for our hero in the jungles of the city, all his life he has been waiting to find a woman in need. Though the girl of his dreams has an agenda that is not quite benevolent, she is about to learn an important lesson in love and life. A fun flick for all of the family.
The movie "Mr. Deeds", starring Adam Sandler, is a remake of this original film. Set in the present day with several aspects changed to fit the times. Kelsana 7/30/02
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny and sweet movie...,
This review is from: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Full Screen) (DVD)When I heard that a remake was being made of this movie, I was totally outraged. Remakes are made for three reasons, in my opinion: a director sees a good concept that is carried out badly and wants to improve it, a director wants to honor a movie he likes, or HOLLYWOOD HAS NO NEW IDEAS SO DECIDES TO REMAKE A CLASSIC! Okay, this is somewhat off topic, but the point is that in the case of Mr. Deeds it has to be the third option because there is NO WAY the original can be improved upon.
This is how highly I rate this movie (also, if an improvement were to be made, it would not be made by casting Adam Sandler, of all people, as Mr. Deeds - the part is NOT AT ALL right for him).
Anyhow, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is essentially the story of a small town boy (Gary Cooper) who inherits a fortune and then decides to give it away to the poor. He is charged with being insane as a result and is forced to prove his sanity in court (which he does in a priceless scene). Also, he meets a seemingly innocent girl (Jean Arthur) who is actually a reporter trying to get a story on him, which complicates matters to some extent.
This is one of Capra's masterpieces. It is a sweet and intelligent movie - one the whole family can watch and enjoy. So, instead of going to the theater to see the terrible remake, buy this classic today on DVD (or VHS)!
5.0 out of 5 stars Why don't they make them like this anymore?,
Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur are both superb as the two leads. In his career-making role as Longfellow Deeds, Cooper plays it well as a dimwitted yet charming small town man who inherits his uncle's wealth following his death (Or suicide? You decide. Hey, that rhymes!) Arthur plays newspaper writer Louise "Babe" Bennett, who goes undercover to write articles on Deeds. She is originally hired to basically uncover dirt on Longfellow, which she does. But she finds herself falling in love with him and soon feels ashamed with degrading him. Her shame comes too late, though, for due in large part to her writing, Deeds is charged with insanity and put on trial (That and he puts up his whole fortune to help out poor farmers). Now, he has to defend against an overwhelming amount of evidence. However, as learned during the trial, Deeds wasn't insane. He just did peculiar things like all humans.
There are several very funny scenes in the movie. One example is when Deeds, after chasing Walter the butler out of his room, yells at Walter to discover that the sound makes an echo. Soon, he and the other servants are making loud sounds and hearing them echo. Another funny scene is when Deeds, for the first time in his life, gets drunk and, according to Walter, fed donuts to a horse and took off his clothes yelling "Back to nature". But we never see the actual scene. That's something about this movie that current directors should pick up on: Some situations can be better, or in this case funnier, if left to our imagination. Its probably because of hindsight: When we look back at embarrassing situations we were in, we think differently of them then when they happened.
About the only compliant I had with "Mr. Deeds" was in the way this film portrays the rich class. It's said that a movie can be shown as the way a director views the world. Capra must have had some bad experiences with wealthier people. In here, basically all
But that doesn't mean I don't like the movie. Being the critic that I am, I need to be fair and balanced. I think the movie is even better for tackling such lighthearted, simple and universal beliefs liked kindness and acceptance. I haven't seen the remake with Adam Sandler. I have nothing wrong with Sandler: Though he regularly plays the same guy in his movies, some of them have been funny. But from what I see on T.V ads, this remake seems to agree with today's belief that money makes you a great and happy person. As we learn here, that isn't always so. Deeds was a great man before he got all that money because he had character, integrity, honesty and dignity (Until "Donut Gate", that is). But tell me, how happier was he with all those millions? Instead, his longing for his home and friends in Mandrake Falls grows. There, he really was wealthy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly delightful romantic/social comedy,
This review is from: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Full Screen) (DVD)I love Frank Capra's 1930s films. They are on the one hand so clearly products of their time, which was the period of the New Deal and a sense of optimism and idealism about whether America could overcome its problems and bring about a better life for most Americans. And, it was the period of time immediately preceding WW II, which transformed America in general so profoundly, and no one less than Frank Capra. By his own admission, the war brought about a shift in Capra's social and political vision, from a Leftist position to a Rightist one. After the war, Capra was able to duplicate his pre-War success only once, with IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Later in life, in his autobiography and after moving back to a leftist political position, Capra acknowledged that his shift to the Right marred his cinematic vision, and ruined him as a filmmaker.
On one level, MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN is easy to criticize. It does espouse simplistic, naive beliefs about society and politics. It is anti-capitalist, whereas Capra's post-WW II films (excepting IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE) were pro-business. The film does seem to suggest that there are simple answers to enormously complex problems. All this, however, enchants me. I wish that we today had not lost this capacity to have simple, goodhearted beliefs.
Once one moves away from the social and political elements in this film, which are nonetheless quite strong (and the sentiments expressed here helped give rise to what is frequently referred to as "Capra-corn"), one is left with a delightful, funny, and inspiring romantic comedy. Could any actor in the history of film have been more perfect as Longfellow Deeds? Well, perhaps Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda (certainly not Adam Sandler). But even those two stellar actors would have fallen short of Cooper in communicating his abject indifference to his fate during his trial late in the film. Having him in that role was a perfect bit of casting. Jean Arthur, one of Capra's two favorite actresses, was perfect as Babe Bennett (though his other favorite actress, Barbara Stanwyck, might have been even more perfect). The two make a perfect team: the idealistic, naive, and good hearted Deeds (though completely intolerant of bunk) and the cynical, cold hearted, manipulative undercover reporter whose heart is melted and transformed by Deeds. In a supporting role, Lionel Stander is outstanding.
All in all, this is just a great film, and stands as one of Capra's finest efforts, definitely one of the five or six classic films he made upon which his reputation will always be preserved.
There is a forthcoming remake of this film, with Adam Sandler playing Deeds. The previews that I have seen are more than embarrassing. There are two reasons to engage in a remake. First, an earlier film contains excellent premises, but executed its own concepts poorly. Thus, a remake provides an opportunity to get it right. The 1941 version of THE MALTESE FALCON was actually a remake of an earlier version of the novel. The second reason to undertake a remake is when the filmmakers have no interesting or inventive ideas of their own, and pilfer those of others. Since the original MR. DEEDS would be extremely difficult to improve upon, one wonders if this film is an example of reason number two. I should add that there is a third reason to engage in a remake: love of a previous film and to try and pay homage by remaking it. I believe that this is the case with the unsuccessful remake by Mel Brooks of TO BE OR NOT TO BE (why try to remake a perfect film?), the more successful CAPE FEAR (which was nearly as good as the original), or the high tech remake of PLANET OF THE APES.
Bit of trivia: This was the only film that Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur made together. In 1942 Hitchcock wanted to reunite the two of them in SABOTEUR. He was unsuccessful; however, and instead cast Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane in the leads. The film today, despite some amazing scenes, is usually criticized for its very weak stars. One wonders how successful that film would have been if Hitchcock had managed to get the Gary and Jean.
Second bit of trivia: Jean Arthur, although she always looks very calm and self-possessed, suffered from almost debilitating screen fright, frequently becoming nauseous before or during shooting. In fact, her career eventually ended when she was doing a stage version of BORN YESTERDAY, playing the Judy Holliday role. During the middle of the play, the stress became too much for her. She was unable to return to finish the play, and except for a unsuccessful attempt at a TV sitcom, her career was over.
5.0 out of 5 stars Pixilated, indeed!,
This review is from: Mr Deeds Goes to Town [Import] (VHS Tape)"Mr. Deeds," Capra's first patently idealistic fantasy (and the first of his Everyman-as-Superman trilogy that continues with "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "Meet John Doe") is also most the one closely akin to his conventional screwball comedies. All the "Capra Corn" staples are here but with a dash of whimsy and sarcasm. It will certainly win your heart.
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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Full Screen) by Frank Capra (DVD - 2000)
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