Monday, December 29, 2014

MY YEAR WITH CAPRA CHALLENGE #4

NOVEMBER "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"


According to the IMDb TriviaMr. Smith Goes to Washington, also starring Jean Arthur as the leading lady, was originally intended to be the sequel to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. However, Frank Capra made two independent movies that quickly became instant classics. You can definitely see the resemblances of the two films within each of the respective productions. Both leading men in each production tackle the small-town upbringing against the power-crazed entities that each film champions the leading men against. Providing plenty of heart, challenging societies roles against moral values, and everyone's favorite - pitting the underdog against a big conglomerate keeping us on our toes and batted breath for the outcome.


Mr. Deeds Goes to Town stars Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds, a small-town man with a big-time heart. I adore Mr. Cooper's tall presence, strong demeanor, and his passionate eyes. He has quickly become my favorite "silver screen" male actor. What I love most about this movie was Capra's angles of catching the every-day within the movie. How Mr. Deed's talks on the phone with "Babe" (Jean Arthur) and how Babe passes time in the office with her editor practicing magic tricks; they nearly steal the scene and you forget all about what it really going on in the movie. I love Mr. Deed's character in the film because even though he is from a "small-town" he remains true to himself and his morals.


The movie starts with Mr. Deed's inheriting a fortune from the unfortunate death of his wealthy uncle. However, there are other's trying to stake their claim for the money through out the movie as well. Not only other relatives but lawyers are involved too! Especially the lawyers that had been dealing with the fortune prior, seek-out Mr. Deed's to inform him of his inheritance and to help him with this new-found fortune. But, are they really out for his best interest? I did enjoy Lionel Stander's portrayal of Mr. Cobb, an associate of the law firms to look after Mr. Deed's. Everyone quickly labels Mr. Deed's as a simple-minded man and nearly write him off, but Mr. Cobb sees his true-heart and strong-mind and respects the man he's now friends with.


Jean Arthur enters as Babe Bennett, much like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, she's a tough-as-nails newspaper reporter after her daily-bread story. In Mr. Deed's Goes to Town, the story has been hard to write because Longfellow Deed's is a quiet simple man that hasn't created too much of a stir in the big-bustling city of New York. So, with the promise of an entire month vacation - with pay - she sets out to get the story by directly placing her in Mr. Deed's life. He quickly falls for the vixen and chaos ensues when he proposes, learns of her true identity as the reporter who's been writing about him, he's left hurt and betrayed by the one person he truly trusted since entering the crazy big city lifestyle.


Understanding the severity of the fortune, Mr Deed's decides to help the less fortunate after an intrusion by a desperate man in his home. He decides to give away the majority of the money to those that have lost the most during those desperate times, the farmers. He has an elaborate, well-thought out plan that they start to implement but is short-lived as he's ordered to court, by the very lawyers that sought him out. Of course, the power-hunger and deceptive nature of the law firm is the driving force of their actions. They don't want to lose the money because of the ill dealings with their book keeping abilities. When Deed's wants to give away the money, they go ballistic and have him tested for insanity.


Mr. Deed's goes silent after the devastation he has experienced; first with the heart-break of Miss Bennett and then with the blow from the lawyers. What I liked most about this tact was a devotion I studied once (Proverbs 17:28) and quoted by President Abraham Lincoln "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Brainy Quote. What this refers to in the movie was how when Mr. Deed's was accused, he remained silent - letting everyone else speak and accuse him, letting them all look the fools. Then, when he spoke the levity of his wisdom and comparisons could not be argued, and he proved that he was not the proclaimed simpleton, he was in-fact an intelligent man who was no more insane than the most respective of the attendees there.


Overall, I can easily understand how this is revered as a classic film. It is also another Frank Capra films that are rich with depth, involving moral aptitudes and societal debacles. It is just as relevant today as it was in the 30's when it was released. As such, in 2002 the remake "Mr. Deeds" with actors Adam Sandler as Longfellow Deeds and Winona Ryder as Babe Bennett brought the story back to life. Much like Frank Capra, Adam Sandler also likes to reprise roles and use actors he has previously worked with in other films. I truly believe Mr. Capra was a visionary and a man way before his time. What he has created are deemed classics because they are as relevant today as they were decades ago. We see the media and how it twists and turns truths just to glorify their ratings all the time - media manipulation isn't anything new by far. It also displays how manipulative law can be, and how it can be persuaded easily to benefit their own greedy agendas; instead of protecting the innocent, the laws are manipulated grotesquely for the benefit of the wicked. Another aspect of the movie that I loved is that the law in-fact did prevail and Mr. Deed's did come out on top, truth prevailed! If you haven't seen this movie, definitely check it out.

On the Side Lines...