Thursday, March 3, 2011

Capsule Review: Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Orson Welles notably told Peter Bogdonavich that Leo McCarey's Make Way For Tomorrow could "make a stone cry", and I can't deny that I teared up several times during the film, despite the touches of humor that run throughout. It's a rather simple premise: an elderly couple in the days before social security no longer have the means to pay for their home, and find themselves having to seperate in order that their children can find room for them. Eventually, the two reunite for possibly the last time over a brief few magical hours in New York City. There are moments of surprising (and devastating) power in the film, which features wonderful performances from the leads - particularly Victor Moore as Barkley Cooper - and even the comedic moments are tinged with sincerity and heart. Despite McCarey's later reputation as a staunch conservative, this film displays a sympathy and humanism that is as touching as it is heart-breaking.


Klaus said...

I was kind of shocked by the fact that this movie ended up having such power - considering the lighthearted manner which it began. It certainly didn't have your typical feel good Hollywood ending!

Doug Tilley said...

It totally bowled me over. I suppose I'm used to having the edge of films from the Hays Code era severely dulled, This one started in a very Capraesque fashion, but then certain scenes - the Jewish shop-owner reading the letter, the phone call during the bridge game - completely caught me off-guard.

Hope Newfoundland - my own home province - is treating you well!