Want to see a movie that will just lift your spirits? One that makes you smile and make you tear at that happy ending? The best dose of medicine I can recommend for you is a Frank Capra film (It Happened One Night). In this feel-good romantic comedy in which Capra won his second Best Director award, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is when a gift card poet/tuba player inherits a million dollars overnight with people making him look incompetent for such a prosperous gift including a beautiful reporter.
Cary Grant does an excellent job at portraying the innocence that comes to the character of Mr. Deeds. He inherits a huge sum of money but doesn’t let that change him. When he’s happy, we’re happy. When he’s in pain, so are we. When he decides to give most of it away to charity, he is declared insane by those that wish to take him down. Jean Arthur‘s character Babe originally wanted to destroy his reputation for the sake of the newspaper she works at until she gets to know him. Did you know that the role of Babe was originally for Carole Lombard? She dropped out at last minute in order to be in My Man Godfrey (a film that’s coincidentally to come next on our list). What I don’t understand is why Columbia Pictures didn’t think Jean Arthur was pretty enough for the role? Frank Capra had to tell them to focus on her voice instead of her face. Seems pretty shallow to me.
I’ve noticed similarities in the main characters in this film and Capra’s other major film It’s a Wonderful Life where life goes downhill for these characters and their innocence makes us want to root for them to succeed in the end. We can also relate to the character of Babe in which everything she sees in Mr. Deeds we as an audience see- a genuinely caring man just wanting to help in any way he can. As she falls in love with him, so do we. Since this film was released during the time of The Great Depression, audiences would like to see a character willing to donate his money towards the greater good. The film pretty much shows us a realistic portrayal of society in which someone can do something good for someone and ask why. The real question should be “Why not?” Other than seeing this film, here’s another request I have for you: PLEASE DON’T WATCH THE ADAM SANDLER REMAKE!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy online that works anymore but you can rent the film on Amazon for $3.99 and tell me what you think. Here is the trailer: