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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Screening on Film
Directed by Frank Capra.
With Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft.
US, 1936, 35mm, black & white, 115 min.
Print source: Sony Pictures

And what was the great ‘message’ of Mr. Deeds? Nothing earth-shaking. Just this: A simple honest man, driven into a corner by predatory sophisticates, can, if he will, reach deep down into his God-given resources and come up with the necessary handfuls of courage, wit, and love to triumph over his environment. That theme prevailed in all—except two—of my future films. It was the rebellious cry of the individual against being trampled to an ort by massiveness—mass production, mass thought, mass education, mass politics, mass wealth, mass conformity. [....]

Longfellow Deeds was not just a funny man cavorting in frothy situations. He was the living symbol of the deep rebellion in every human heart—a growing resentment against being compartmentalized. And when Mr. Deeds routed the mass predators, using only his simple weapons of honesty, wit, and courage—audiences not only laughed, they cheered! — FC

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