Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"

Capra-corn may have been around earlier, but “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” is where it really goes over the top and is infused into every frame of the film. Longfellow Deeds is surely too good to be true. The crowd in the courtroom can’t laugh hard enough at every single thing said in the trial. And the snarky, sneaky reporter can’t stand being deceptive from the very start.

However, like many Capra films from the 30s, “Mr. Deeds” is a tremendously relevant film for our day. The folks at Occupy Wall Street would be inconceivable for the people of the Thirties going through truly hard times. In the film Deeds makes a case for helping less fortunate people with an analogy:

“It's like I'm out in a big boat, and I see one fellow in a rowboat who's tired of rowing and wants a free ride, and another fellow who's drowning. Who would you expect me to rescue? Mr. Cedar - who's just tired of rowing and wants a free ride? Or those men out there who are drowning? Any ten year old child will give you the answer to that.”

One wonders where the “90%” would fit into that analogy. For that matter, when did the characters like Mr. Cedar become the heroes of American society?

The real treasure in this story, though, is Longfellow Deeds. In spite of the fact that he is too good to be true, he is a great ideal. He is the epitome of “harmless as dove, but wise as serpents.” He is a man who is completely content with what he has and more than that, he enjoys life. Yet, he is still shrewd and a good judge of character. People think that they can take advantage of him because he does not hold money to be the ultimate goal as they do, so he certainly doesn’t know its worth. However, the fact that he does not see wealth as something to aspire to means that he actually has a better understanding of money than most.

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