Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {Mr. Deeds Goes To Town}

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As I announced on Twitter, this month's movie theme is Money isn't Everything and first up for your enjoyment is Mr. Deeds from 1936 starring Gary Cooper and my favourite actress, Jean Arthur.
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This is Mr. Cedar, the late Mr. Semple's shyster lawyer and Cob, Mr. Semple's tough, but honest press agent/handler. Mr. Cedar has finally located the heir from the will: Semple's nephew Longfellow Deeds of Mandrake Falls.
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Longfellow's never been out of Mandrake Falls and he owns most of the town (he doesn't accept rent) but he really makes his money by writing poems for postcards and greeting cards.
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Poor Budington.
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Mr. Cedar wants power of attorney for the fortune, but first he must tell Longfellow that he's inherited a fortune and must come to New York. Problem is that Longfellow is happy in Mandrake Falls and doesn't know what to do with all that money, he doesn't want it. Naturally Mr. Cedar jumps to conclusions about Longfellow's level of intelligence.
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Back in New York, Babe Bennett, the toughest newspaper woman has decided that she's going to get exclusive stories about the Semple heir from a hick town. If she does, she gets a month's paid vacation. I think we'd all sell out for a month's paid vacation.
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Longfellow is having trouble adjusting to life in New York, in a house that looks like the White House and fending off moochers, crooks and that darn Mr. Cedar.
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But he's trying to cope.
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And look at who faints outside his gate. Mary Dawson, a stenographer from a small town! Isn't that a remarkable coincidence!
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They go out to dinner were Longfellow is insulted by some famous snobby poets. But one poet does take a liking to Our Hero and they go out for a nightcap. Or several.
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Meanwhile, Mary went home so that Babe could write her first exclusive story and coin a nickname for Longfellow.
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Can we all agree that the late Thirties were the best time for women's suits?
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Mary then goes on many dates with Longfellow and Babe writes more stories.

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Meanwhile, back at Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington, the crooked lawyers are getting around about their financial situation, so they track down Mr. Semple's other nephew and his bitch of a wife to contest the will.
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However, poor Jean Arthur has fallen in love with Longfellow, once she realized just how honest he is compared to New Yorkers.
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And then Longfellow proposes in the fog.
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So, she goes to her editor to quit and tell Longfellow the truth.
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But Cob beat her to it. Say, her name isn't Mary. It's Louise. Poor Longfellow!
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And then this starving farmer bursts into his house and demands to know why so few have all of the money.
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This sets Longfellow thinking that he'd better do his FDR impression and decides to give his fortune away so that he can give farms to those who really need it during the Depression.
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Back at Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington, they decide that Longfellow's insane and get him locked up in order to take the fortune.
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Longfellow wont talk to anyone, not even Jean Arthur and her jaunty hat. Nor will he find a lawyer for the sanity trial.
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I don't think I've ever seen a court set up like this one, have you?
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Mr. Cedar calls up a lot of witnesses, including the cliched Austrian doctor with the screwy chart.
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I love her trial outfit, with the velvet and frog closures!
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The Faulker Sisters from Mandrake Falls, my favourite! "Longfellow's always been pixilated"
Hey, fellow vintage enthusiasts -let's see if we can reintroduce "pixilated" in it's original meaning.
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So, what does Longfellow do when faced with such damning evidence? Well, this is a Frank Capra film after all, but isn't it a lovely movie anyway and with such a good message too.

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