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Sunday, December 10, 2006

****½ Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Romantic comedy.

Directed by: Frank Capra

Starring: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur

After seeing the remake, we turned to Netflix for the original. And as usual, the original was head-and-shoulders above the remake, and made the remake seem pretty pointless.

The plot is the same--Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) unexpectedly inherits a fortune from an uncle he'd never met, then goes to the city to take care of the legalities.

Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) is a tough newspaper reporter who poses as sweet, innocent Mary Dawson to get the scoop on him.

But instead of a crooked board of directors, there's a greedy cousin, and there are no over-the-top silly jokes. It's still funny, but it doesn't resort to idiocy to accomplish that. Really made me wonder why Hollywood seems to think that only slapstick is funny lately.

It did take me a while to warm up to Gary Cooper in the role. I'd only ever seen him in macho roles, so this mild-mannered character seemed rather odd to me--I'd expected something more like Jimmy Stewart from It's a Wonderful Life. Not that he didn't play the role convincingly--it was just my expectations that were off.


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