Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is Frank Capra's classic screwball comedy about a village innocent who inherits $20 million, only to discover it's more trouble than it's worth. The screwball in question is Longfellow Deeds (Gary C... more »ooper), a small-town greeting-card poet and tuba player transplanted to the big city to administer his newly inherited wealth, where fast-pattering, wised-up cynics, sneering society denizens, and corrupt lawyers lord it over the ingenuous and straightforward. Deeds's idiosyncrasies are amply magnified in the tabloids by journalist "Babe" Bennett (Jean Arthur), dating Deeds as a cover, only to discover she's the sap when she falls irresistibly for him. But the damage has been done, when Babe's column is used by a pack of corrupt lawyers, Cedar, Cedar, Cedar & Budington, to prove Deeds mentally unfit. The miracle of this unforgettable comedy is how it embraces dark material, calling into question some common assumptions about capitalism while maintaining an approachable atmosphere of light comedy, and deceptively so. You'll be so pixilated by its charm, you won't rest until you've doodled your way to a rhyme for "Budington." --Jim Gay« less
Eliza M. from CORBETT, OR Reviewed on 3/16/2015...
Terrific! Loved it!
A funny and sweet movie...
ehakus | New York, NY United States | 07/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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)!"
"Longfellow's always been pixilated."
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 07/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town that Frank Capra perfected the blend of comedy and social commentary that would become his trademark. The screwball comedy was graceful rather than frantic and the social elements of Robert Riskin's fine screenplay are handled in an even-handed manner that earned Capra the second of his three Acadamy Awards for Best Director. Both Gary Cooper as the tuba playing no nonsense Longfellow Deeds and Jean Arthur as the reporter who exploits him until she falls for his goodness are wonderful in this true Capra classic.
Longfellow Deeds (Cooper) lives in the small town of Mandrake Falls where he makes a living writing greeting card poems and spends his free time playing the tuba. He is less than enthused when a bunch of big city attorneys show up at his door to tell him he has just inherited 20 million dollars from a relative he never met. The law firm of Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington just want him to sign over his power of attorney and Deeds goes to the city with them mainly so he can get a look at Grant's Tomb.
Deeds is honest and good but no pushover and his initial reluctance about the situation proves wise as everyone wants to mooch off of Deeds and make a fool of him at the same time. Deeds gives as good as he gets and wins over the crusty Cornelius Cobb (Lionell Stander) to his way of doing things but can't get around the way a certain Louise Bennet is mocking his every escapade in the papers, making him look a fool and a country bumpkin.
But Deeds knows it doesn't matter when he meets the sweet Mary Dawson (Jean Arthur), a lady in distress who becomes his constant companion. Deeds no longer has to go off by himself like he did back home and talk to an imaginary girl because his dream girl has finally appeared for real. He tells Mary that she makes up for all the fakes he's met and writes a poem to her telling her how much he loves her. The problem, of course, is that Mary Dawson and this Louise Bennet who has christened him the Cinderella Man in all the papers are one and the same.
Arthur is wonderful as the cynical reporter who slowly realizes that Longfellow is good, straightforward and honest. She realizes it is the viewpoint of everyone else that is distorted. Before she can get to him to make her confession, however, Cobb breaks the bad news to Deeds and his faith in everything is lost. He is ready to pack it up and head back to Mandrake Falls until a starving farmer breaks into his home and gives Deeds an idea. It is the depression and Deeds' plan to give those down and out a chance to fend for themselves and get back on their feet will take evey penny he has, which is just what he wants.
But the same attorneys who courted him before, now try to prevent the noble Deeds from doing a noble deed and attempt to have him declared insane. It is the last straw for Longfellow, who shuts down completely, refusing to even defend his actions at his hearing. It is only when in an outburst from Arthur he learns she really does love him that he comes alive and gives them what for. As Cobb says earlier in the film, "lamb bites wolf!"
This is another great Capra film that shows it is the "average" fellow who really represents our values and mores as a people and a country, while entertaining us like no other director could. In addition to the constant joke about the name Budington throughout the film, because Deeds can't find a rhyme for it, it is also an "in" joke; the original story adapted by Riskin was written by Clarance Budington Kelland!
Cooper and Arthur are memorable together and you will definitely get choked up when she reads Longfellow's poem about her on the steps of her apartment. Arthur does, because the words he has said earlier to a group of published poets making fun of him echo in her heart: "I guess it's alright to hurt someone as long as you don't care how much you hurt them."
If all the great Capra classics were represented by a vase full of red roses, this would be the one white rose in the center. It is flawless and pure, and represents everything that was special about the films of the first director allowed to have his name above the title. After seeing this film, you'll know why."
"Mr. Deeds goes to the movies"
PJ | CA, USA | 04/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one damn good film! I just recently saw it and although I was already Gary Cooper's biggest fan this film made me appreciate him even more. The film did earn Capra his second of three Oscar wins (of which he won two years apart from each other: '34-"It Happened One Night", '36-"Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", '38-"You Can't Take It With You) the film should also have won Best Picture that year. ("The Great Zeigfeld"--the film that did get Best Picture--is a very boring film. Only Luise Rainer (best actress winner that year) did the film some justice. Jean Arthur (in "Deeds", not "Zeigfeld") gave one of her most memorable and best performances in the film as Cooper's love interest. Also, look for a young Gabbie Hayes. Even if you havn't seen this film, don't be afraid to buy it before you rent it. You won't regret it--Gary Cooper shines as the title character and Capra hands in yet another great American classic--right in the league of "It's a Wonderful Life", "It Happened One Night" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"."
Moving Capresque flick
scottie | Sintra, Portugal | 12/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"MY RATING- 7.8This 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.
Maybe a bit overlong, however it's moving (not as much as It's a Wonderful Life"), , love triumphs at the end, with the Capraesque final act at the court."
Watchable, enjoyable, wonderful!
Alan R. Holyoak | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Frank Capra movie stars Gary Cooper as a man who lives a simple, happy life in a small town until he is suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he inherits a huge estate during the great depression. Jean Arthur is cast as a sharp, street savvy newspaper reporter who weasels her way into Cooper's life in order to get inside exclusives other reporters can only dream about.Come join in the fun as Cooper takes on oily lawyers, greedy would-be co-inheritors, snooty high society, and, of course, the media in this grand adventure.This movie is a wonderful romantic comedy...it's totally watchable, and there no worries about language, violence, or innappropriate sexual scenes or inuendos. This movie is a real treat. Five stars all the way!"