Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 266: Sun Sep 24

Make Way for Tomorrow (McCarey, 1937): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 3.50pm

If there is one film I am looking forward to seeing this month more than any other this is it. Part of the excellent Ozu season at BFI Southbank, this Leo McCarey-directed 1937 melodrama is apparently a Hollywood one-off and not to be missed.  Make Way For Tomorrow concerns the travails of an elderly couple whose five children won’t take them in when they hit hard times during America’s depression.

Orson Welles said the film “would make a stone cry” and the influential critic Robin Wood, who wrote so movingly of the movie in his book Sexual Politics and Narrative Film, put in his all-time top ten.

This screening is introduced by Ozu season curator Ian Haydn Smith.

Chicago Reader review:
With the possible exception of Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, this 1937 drama by Leo McCarey is the greatest movie ever made about the plight of the elderly. (It flopped at the box office, but when McCarey accepted an Oscar for The Awful Truth, released the same year, he rightly pointed out that he was getting it for the wrong picture.) Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi play a devoted old couple who find they can’t stay together because of financial difficulties; their interactions with their grown children are only part of what makes this movie so subtle and well observed. Adapted by Vina Delmar from Josephine Lawrence’s novel Years Are So Long, it’s a profoundly moving love story and a devastating portrait of how society works, and you’re likely to be deeply marked by it. Hollywood movies don’t get much better than this.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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