- This Day and Age 9/12/2000 12:00:00 AM by lugonian
MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (Paramount, 1937), directed by Leo McCarey, ranks one of the very best and well scripted dramas from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and one worthy of recognition and/or rediscovery. No longer available on any local TV channel as it was in the 1970s, MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW had frequent revivals on American Movie Classics, from June 20, 1994 until its final air date, April 3, 1999, and a Turner Classic Movies premiere September 6, 2010. Thus far, it's never been distributed on video cassette but DVD distribution did finally come many years later.
Yes, MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW is sad, moving, but so very true to life dealing realistically about coping with old age. Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi (in possibly the best film role in her entire career) play an elderly couple who lose their home and find that their adult children are finding excuses NOT to take them in. A situation that even rings true even by today's society. Leo McCarey won an Academy Award as Best Director that year for the comedy THE AWFUL TRUTH (Columbia), starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. McCarey was reported to have said that he had won for the wrong movie, that it should should have won for this one. I agree. As much as THE AWFUL TRUTH is a fine movie in its own right, MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW is a far better production, dramatically anyway.
In support here are Fay Bainter (in a rare unsympathetic role); Thomas Mitchell (the only one of the children to know how selfish he has been while the others refuse to realize it themselves), Porter Hall, Barbara Read (as the adolescent granddaughter) and Elisabeth Risdon. While MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW lacks star names, it consists of character actors in leading parts, which is just as good. Victor Moore, usually in comedic supporting parts or leads in program productions (better known as "B" movies), is fine in a rare dramatic role, but is overshadowed by Beulah Bondi, whose performance is excellent as well as tear inducing. Although she plays a woman possibly in her late 70s, she was actually 45 when the film was made. Sadly, MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW did not receive a single Academy Award nomination. If a nomination was to be offered, it definitely would go to Bondi as Best Actress for such highlights as sitting sadly in her rocking chair as the radio plays the sentimental score of "I Adore You" as introduced in Paramount's own COLLEGE HOLIDAY (1936), along with her closing scene at the train station bidding husband Moore farewell to the underscoring of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," scenes that remain in memory long after the movie is over.
The plot might sound trite in print, but to see it is to appreciate the kind of movie that can never be remade in the same manner as the original nor come anywhere close to great motion picture making such as this one. (***1/2)
- It'll make you call your mother, that's for sure 5/7/2002 12:00:00 AM by marcslope
One of the few American movies to look seriously (and reasonably honestly) at old age, this 1937 melodrama won wonderful reviews, but apparently it was so sad that audiences couldn't bear to look at it. While McCarey was justly celebrated for his sensitive direction, let's start with the shrewd, shaded screenplay, where nobody's entirely good or bad: The children do mean well, but let selfishness intervene; the aged parents are victims, but they're also unavoidably inconvenient and occasionally annoying. It is, unfortunately, a timeless topic -- parents turning into dependent children, children turning into their parents' parents, and the government yammering ineffectually about the problem decade after decade.
McCarey spins the tale out with subtle humor -- just a wink from Victor Moore, a visual aside by Beulah Bondi, says more than several lines of dialogue would. Plus, this is a couple whose passion has survived the years; they can't keep their hands off each other. The notion's a bit hard to swallow, perhaps a contrivance to tilt the viewer's sympathies more in their direction and away from the thoughtless middle-aged kids. But it does work dramatically and makes the last 20 minutes or so almost unbearably poignant. And the last shot, of Bondi, is unforgettable; it's up there with Garbo in "Queen Christina."
- An honest-to-God tearjerker... 5/10/2002 12:00:00 AM by moonspinner55
An elderly couple lose their home and their grown children don't want them around, so where can they turn? After a creaky start, this thoughtful film becomes absorbing and very touching. It thankfully never resorts to feel-good measures: the oldsters are not painted as saints (in fact, Beulah Bondi's "Ma" is realistically nagging and nosy) and their kids are completely selfish (which is entirely believable). The picture has one of the most haunting endings that I can recall, and it's even more powerful to consider how timely it all is (and how this situation still rears its ugly head today). An emotionally gripping, wistful, memorable movie. ***1/2 from ****
- Overlooked...? Indeed!!! 11/29/2001 12:00:00 AM by emhughes
I cannot believe that this movie did not receive any Academy Awards! I give it "All T's", for touching, tender, terrific, and tearfully timeless!!! Why it continues to be overlooked and not made into a video behooves any Beulah Bondi fan and people like me that have had the privilege of catching it tucked away between 2am infomercials on other stations. Get it on the shelf in the video stores! I've been looking for it for years! Can you say, "Bitter batter baby buggy bumpers" to your spouse as lovingly as these two lovebirds did in that 1937 classic? Romeo, Juliet, Scarlett and Rhett can't hold a light to 'Pa' and 'Ma' Cooper!
- Overlooked gem. 3/24/1999 12:00:00 AM by apocalypse later
Beulah Bondi gave her greatest performance as a mistreated elderly mother in this bittersweet, highly underrated Leo McCarey gem. Oscar should have noticed. (Actually, McCarey did win the Best Director Oscar that year, for the screwball comedy "The Awful Truth" - also written by Vena Delmar. In his acceptance speech, McCarey thanked the Academy, but said "you've given me this for the wrong film" - referring to "Make Way For Tomorrow.") Believe it or not, Bondi was only 48 at the time of filming, only four years older than the actors playing her children. A marvelous performance, and a lovely film