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Make Way for Tomorrow UK Blu-Ray cover Directed by Leo McCarey Produced by Leo McCarey Adolph Zukor Written by Viña Delmar Henry Leary and Noah Leary (play) Josephine Lawrence (novel The Years Are So Long) Starring Victor Moore Beulah Bondi Music by George Antheil Victor Young Cinematography William C. Mellor Editing by LeRoy Stone Distributed by Paramount Release date(s) May 9, 1937 Running time 91 min. Country United States Language English Make Way for Tomorrow is a 1937 American drama film directed by Leo McCarey. The plot concerns an elderly couple (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) who are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents in. The film was written by Viña Delmar, from a play by Henry Leary and Noah Leary, which was in turn based on the novel The Years Are So Long by advice columnist Josephine Lawrence. McCarey believed that this was his finest film.[1] When he accepted his Academy Award for Best Director for The Awful Truth, which was released the same year, he said "Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture." Contents 1 Plot summary 2 Cast 3 Reception 4 External links 5 Footnotes 6 References // Plot summary Barkley and Lucy Cooper are an elderly couple who lose their home to foreclosure, as Barkley has been unable to find employment because of his age. The couple summons four of their five children — the fifth lives thousands of miles away in California — to break the news and decide where they will live until such time as they can get back on their feet. Only one of the children, Nell, has enough space for both, but she asks for three months time to talk her husband into the idea. In the meantime, the temporary solution is for the parents to split up and each go to live with a different one of the children. The two burdened families soon come to find the respective parents' presence bothersome. Nell's efforts to talk her husband into helping are applied with little effort and achieve no success, and she reneges on her promise to eventually take them in. There also seems to be no prospect of Barkley ever really finding a job to allow him and his wife to live independently again. When Lucy continues to speak of the day that he will find work, her teenage granddaughter bluntly advises he to "face facts" that that will never happen because of his age. Lucy's sad reply is to say that "facing facts" is easy for a carefree 17-year old girl, but that at Lucy's age, the only fun left is "pretending that their ain't any facts to face, so would you mind if I just kind of went on pretending?" With no end to sight to the uncomfortable living situation, each of the host families looks for a way to get the parent they are hosting out of their house. When Barkley catches a cold, his daughter Cora seizes upon it as a pretext to assert that his health demands a milder climate, thus necessitating he move to California to live with daughter Addie there. Meanwhile, son George and his family commence plans to move Lucy into a retirement home. Lucy learns of their plans, so rather than force George into the awkward position of breaking the news to her, she goes to him first, claiming that she wants to move into the home. Barkley also resigns himself to his fate of having to move thousands of miles away, though he too is entirely aware of his daughter's true motivation for sending him. On the day Barkley is to depart by train, he and Lucy make plans to go out and spend a final afternoon together before having a farewell dinner with the four children. The couple has a fantastic time reminiscing about their happy years together, even visiting the same hotel in which they had stayed on their honeymoon 50 years prior. The day is made so pleasant partly because all of the people they encounter, although strangers, seem to find them a charming couple, to genuinely enjoy their company, and to treat them wonderfully. This, of course, stands in stark contrast to the treatment they are receiving from their children, and eventually Barkley decides to continue their wonderful day by blowing off the farewell dinner so that he and Lucy can instead stay at the hotel and dine there. When Barkley candidly and remorselessly cancels the dinner plans with the children, it prompts introspection among the four of them. Son Robert offers that each of them has always known that collectively they are "probably the most good-for-nothing bunch of kids that were ever raised, but it didn't bother us much until we found out that Pop knew it too." George notes that it is now so late in the evening, they won't even have time to meet their parents at the train station to see their father off, adding that he deliberately let the time pass until it was too late because he figured the parents would prefer to be alone. When Nell objects that if they don't go to the station, their parents "will think we're terrible", George matter-of-factly replies, "Aren't we?" At the train station, Lucy and Barkley say their farewells to one another. On the surface, their conversation hearkens back to Lucy's comments to her granddaughter about preferring to pretend, rather than facing facts. Barkley tells Lucy that he'll soon find a job in California and then quickly send for her, and Lucy replies that she is sure he will indeed do so. They then offer each other a truly final goodbye, saying that they are doing so "just in case" they do not see each other again because of the ostensibly remote possibility that "anything could happen". Thus, each of them makes a heartfelt statement to the other reaffirming their lifelong love for one another, but they still refrain from any explicit acknowledgment of the reality that this is almost certainly their final moment together. Cast Victor Moore as Barkley "Pa" Cooper Beulah Bondi as Lucy "Ma" Cooper Fay Bainter as Anita Cooper Thomas Mitchell as George Cooper Porter Hall as Harvey Chase Reception Orson Welles reportedly said of Make Way for Tomorrow, "It would make a stone cry," [1] and rhapsodized about his enthusiasm for the film in his booklength series of interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, This Is Orson Welles. In Newsweek magazine, famed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris named it his number one most important film, stating "The most depressing movie ever made, providing reassurance that everything will definitely end badly."[2] Make Way for Tomorrow also earned good reviews when originally released in Japan, where it was seen by screenwriter Kogo Noda. Years later, it provided an inspiration for the script of Tokyo Story (1953), written by Noda and director Yasujiro Ozu. Roger Ebert added this film to his "Great Movies" list on February 11, 2010, writing: "Make Way for Tomorrow" (1937) is a nearly-forgotten American film made in the Depression...The great final arc of "Make Way for Tomorrow" is beautiful and heartbreaking. It's easy to imagine it being sentimentalized by a studio executive, being made more upbeat for the audience. That's not McCarey. What happens is wonderful and very sad. Everything depends on the performances."[2] This film is now part of the Criterion Collection, describing it as "...one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap...Make Way for Tomorrow is among American cinema’s purest tearjerkers, all the way to its unflinching ending, which McCarey refused to change despite studio pressure.[3] The film was selected in 2010 to be preserved by the Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry.[4][5] External links Make Way for Tomorrow at the Internet Movie Database Make Way for Tomorrow at Allmovie The Criterion Collection Footnotes ^ Slant Magazine film review ^ Newsweek article "A life in movies" References ^ "Make Way for Tomorrow – THE CRITERION COLLECTION #505 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)". nt2099.com. http://www.nt2099.com/J-ENT/news/blu-ray-dvd-reviews/dvd-reviews-film-tv/make-way-for-tomorrow-the-criterion-collection-505-a-j-ent-dvd-review/. Retrieved November 2, 2010.  ^ "Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)". Roger Ebert. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100211/REVIEWS08/100219991/1004. Retrieved May 5, 2010.  ^ "Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)". The Criterion Collection. http://www.criterion.com/films/2350-make-way-for-tomorrow. Retrieved May 7, 2010.  ^ "'Empire Strikes Back' among 25 film registry picks". http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jaseG0DbTvl6sIv1uPc-xelSmvjg?docId=c086d710fa42415cbeff1a6a2f80aa36. Retrieved 28 December 2010.  ^ "'Empire Strikes Back,' 'Airplane!' Among 25 Movies Named to National Film Registry". http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/empire-strikes-airplane-25-movies-65915. Retrieved 28 December 2010.  v • d • e The films of Leo McCarey 1920s Society Secrets • Freed 'em and Weep • The Sophomore • Red Hot Rhythm 1930s Wild Company • Let's Go Native • Part Time Wife • Indiscreet • The Kid from Spain • Duck Soup • Six of a Kind • Belle of the Nineties • Ruggles of Red Gap • The Milky Way • Make Way for Tomorrow • The Awful Truth • Love Affair 1940s Once Upon a Honeymoon • Going My Way • The Bells of St. Mary's • Good Sam 1950s My Son John • An Affair to Remember • Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! 1960s Satan Never Sleeps Screenplays Locuras de amor (1930) (with H.M. Walker) Television "Screen Directors Playhouse" (1955) This 1930s drama film-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. v • d • e