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4.7 out of 5 stars27
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on 15 August 2005
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 origional 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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 November 2011
"They created a lot of grand palaces here, but they forgot to create noblemen to put in them"

Has simplicity of story ever been so grand as it is here? Director Frank Capra manages to turn a simple tale of a rural man coming into big money, into a charismatic uplifting lesson to generations past and present. There are no sheep around here for the makers to extract wool from to pull over our eyes, they don't need too, for it is just a plain and honest story to gladden even the hardest of hearts. It's a journey that tickles you pink and then stops you in your tracks with a swift turn of events, it then gives you tension, frustrating pain in the ass tension, and then? Well it's into the delightful realm of Capra.

The direction is flawless, I honestly can't find anything wrong here even if it was my wish to do so, the acting is actually to die for. Gary Cooper is simply brilliant in the title role, he takes you with him on his journey from the easy going rural chap at the start of the film-to the quite emotive and strong man coming alive for the finale. Cooper was a class act when playing men with high moral fibre, such is the case here, he layers Deeds with conviction, witness a tonal shift in the film that brings his world crashing down, the grief on Cooper's face has the viewer ready to fight the world for him. Then there's the entire court room sequences as he sits there acting only with expressions, it's special I tell you.

Jean Arthur has a back story to the film that makes me admire her all the more, she was only chose quite late on in casting by Capra after he caught her in a small low budget production, and she suffered violently with nerves on each shoot, but the results are incredible as she dominates the camera in every scene she is in, with her delivery, her voice that makes me ache in a good way, this lady covers herself in glory. The supporting cast are also first class, the writing is top dollar, the film is actually perfect across the board, so with that I'm stunned that more golden baldy statues from the Academy didn't come this films way.

I was going to watch Mr Smith Goes To Washington after this, but I spent another hour re-watching my favourite scenes from this film. It's a well regarded film in classic movie buff circles, and rightly so, for it's a peerless entry on Capra's CV, and also cements the statement that Gary Cooper deserves his legendary status. 10/10
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on 13 July 2010
All I can add to these reviews here is my enthusiasm for the film. I can watch it over and over again.
Gary Cooper is brilliant as a not-so-dumb country 'bumpkin' and I feel very happy to have been introduced to Jean Arthur.
The story is perfect and the supporting cast are priceless.
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on 28 September 2003
Frank Capra doesn't fail to disappoint in yet another of his warm and fuzzy films. I saw this for the first time when I was a little girl and ever since then I have been looking for it to reappear on the shelves. It truly is a film that takes you through every emotion, I laughed, I cried and I even shouted things at the TV. The film is full of magical moments and it really does give me faith that there is good will out there.
Plus, Gary Cooper is really yummy!!!!!
Definitely worth a watch, and you'll probably be playing it every single holiday season, just to get you in the spirit!
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on 5 February 2011
I would rate this film at ten stars if I could. Wonderful acting, plot, photography, etc. ,etc. and I should add perfectly remastered version.
Gary Cooper in a role that fits his type of acting like the proverbial glove.
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on 6 August 2005
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 origional 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.
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on 13 April 2012
This is the original version of the movie and after seeing it I really have difficulty seeing Adam Sandler in that role in the remake. There is something very honest and straightforward about this movie that makes it as relevant and entertaining today as it was then.
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on 15 June 2014
This is actually quite a good film. Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur team up together in the same year that they appeared in Cecil B. DeMille's 'The Plainsman'. Frank Capra got more out of Cooper and Arthur than DeMille did. The script is good, and whenever Jean Arthur is given good lines it really lifts her performance. Capra's direction really made Cooper act well which is a real achievement. Lionel Stander appears in this film and would go on to appear as Max in the 1980s television series, 'Hart to Hart'.
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on 31 January 2014
Love this movie, One of the best lines in the script {People are so busy living they have forgotten how to live} they don t write them like this anymore.
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on 1 November 2015
Relaxing movie about Moral quality of man. Something what Michal Douglas in his Wall street episode cannot comprehend and we pay.
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