T500FC, 399th: Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (Frank Capra, 1936)


I know sometimes it is just plain wrong to compare remakes and originals of films. There’d be debates since one film caters to a certain period of time only. Take this movie for instance, Adam Sandler made a successful retelling of the story, sticking with a few points in the film, such as the occupation of Mr. Deeds, and gave a different approach, a style owned by Sandler, clearly shown in the early stages of his filmography.

Much like its remake, Mr. Deed Goes To Town gives us a story of the Hallmark-writing Longfellow Deeds, played by Gary Cooper. He found out that he inherits millions of dollars from his uncle. He goes to town and tries to fit in with the modern crowd. To make matters worst, a female journalist tries to woo him where he doesn’t know that she is writing about him in the newspaper every time they have a chance to be with each other. It all ends up with something as surreal as a courtroom drama, or not.

As said, I won’t be comparing this movie with the Sandler starrer since I love Sandler so much that it would be bleak if I try to contrast this movie from the remake. I have to say that I enjoyed this film, the punch lines are still workable and the idea of the movie itself is still refreshing for me.

Frank Capra, the director, obviously did a great job in making this film. It was probably something new at the time when this was shown. A crazy idea is always fruitful if executed properly. And one thing that reminded me is the strong personality provided by Jean Arthur, the journalist. I believe those where the days when Garbo, et al are starting to give the rise for the female actors in an area where men were still chosen as the lead since Arthur was given enough scene time to show that her character is important in the film too.

It was also quite weird to see a screwball comedy ending in a courtroom “drama”. I think that was the point of the movie, everything ends up in the discussion whether Deeds is crazy or not, though I didn’t really love those scenes, the climax was worth the wait.

I’m not sure if this film would really fit in for today. People would say that they’d rather see the Sandler starrer since they are telling the same story anyway. And I say if they want a little bit of non-laugh out loud type of film, then they should go with this one, to say the very least.


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