Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Make Way For Tomorrow
Before I went into work yesterday morning, my Dad and I helped move a sofa chair from an upstairs bedroom in my grandparent's house to their living room. After a couple minutes of heavy lifting, we set the chair down in its new spot and I gave it a look over. There was something very familiar about the chair, like an old friend from the past. It turns out, the chair had rested in their living room before...when it was my great grandmother's chair. In that moment I was reminded of the days when my Great Grandma Snow stayed there and was taken care of by my grandparents (her daughter and son-in-law).
Obviously this little story allowed me to reflect on Leo McCarey's Make Way Tomorrow and to consider the message behind it.
The film is a real gem and it comes as no surprise that we (Brandon, John, Jeff, and myself) all see eye-to-eye on it. Because I haven't seen enough films from 1937, I can't say too much about any of your Golden Age lists, but I have seen both Grand Illusion and Make Way For Tomorrow now. These are two exceptional films and it'd be difficult for me to choose between them.
Films with messages as perspicuous as the one in Make Way For Tomorrow can easily come off as being too preachy; there's a thin line to walk. But at no point during McCarey's film do you feel like you're being preached to. The writing and the performances are pure in heart, and as John wrote, Bark and Lucy Cooper comprise of one of the greatest on-screen romances of all time.
In fact, Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi play their roles so well, it's easy to feel cheated when they aren't sharing a scene together. Of course, the writing and performances are great all-around, so this isn't necessarily the case.
But there's a definite magic to Moore and Bondi. I was glued to the screen when Bark and Lucy spent the last ten minutes of the film together in New York City. There are so many great moments to choose from and each one allows you to experience a wide range of emotions. There's so much going on during those scenes; I can't rave enough about them.
Of course, the conclusion really brings you down. Very touching, very heartbreaking stuff. Brandon talked about it being disturbing for his parents, and I kinda have to agree to extent, despite my youth. Knowing that the film was minutes away from ending, I was unsure of how it would all go down. I think ultimately the ending is realistic, and there is joy and happiness to be found - knowing that Bark and Lucy had a perfect day together.
The moment with the car salesman lets you know that this is a special film with a lot of heart. Car salesmen epitomize sleaze and greed. And yet, this particular car salesman couldn't help but be swept up in the love shared by Bark and Lucy. I don't think anyone can blame him there.