Film / Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

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"People here are funny. They work so hard at living they forget how to live."
Longfellow Deeds

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 classic film directed by Frank Capra, which won him the second of three Academy Awards.

Gary Cooper stars as Longfellow Deeds, a smalltown tuba player who is suddenly left a massive fortune by his rich uncle. He moves to the big city, where everyone wants a piece of his fortune. Intrepid Reporter Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) meets Longfellow, initially exploiting his simpleness to advance her journalistic career but gradually finding herself falling for him. However, it's the Deeds family attorney, the scheming Mr. Cedar, whose greed will provide the biggest obstacle for Mr Deeds.

It was remade, quite loosely, as the 2002 Adam Sandler vehicle Mr. Deeds.


This work features examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Babe Bennett.
  • Amoral Attorney: Mr. Cedar is initially gleeful to find that he's representing a small-town Nice Guy, figuring he'll be easy to fleece. When that proves untrue, Cedar goes to work for the other potential heirs.
  • Becoming the Mask: Babe stages a Rescue Romance with Deeds to advance her journalist career and then falls in love with him.
  • Benevolent Boss: MacWade, Babe's editor. He happily prints all the material she gives him, but when she decides to pull out of the story because she's fallen in love he doesn't badger her and accompanies her to Deeds' competency hearing as emotional support.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: When Deeds discovers Babe lied. She has to tell that she loves him in court to make him defend himself.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mr. and Mrs. Semple appear early in the film to complain that their rich uncle has left his money to the wrong nephew, then vanish from the action. This means they're not a Diabolus ex Machina when Cedar tries to save what he sees as his share of the money.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Deeds can act like this sometimes. Deconstructed, because it nearly gets him declared insane.
    • Some of the people from town qualify as well.
  • Country Mouse: Longfellow, who is intelligent but totally unfamiliar with the backbiting behavior of the city.
  • Decoy Damsel: Babe first pretends to be a Damsel in Distress in order to meet Deeds.
  • Disproportionate Reward
  • Evil Is Petty
  • Friend to All Living Things: Deeds
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A conversation between a newspaper and his employees about "Dirty Plaster."
    • Also the following exchange:
    Deeds: Did you hear him? Talking about women as if they were cattle...
    Servant: Well, each man has his own tastes.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Mr. Deeds is a kind and sympathetic man. But many people in the movie mistake him for being a pushover, when he is clearly an intelligent man.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Babe has one after she genuinely falls in love with Longfellow Deeds while on an assignment to do a hatchet job on him.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: We're assured Deeds is a great guy even before we meet him by the way his dog waits at the door for him to come home.
  • Hidden Depths: Babe (and the audience) slowly begin to realise Deeds is not simply a naive hayseed. He quickly cottons on when he is being mocked by his fellow poets and shows himself to be a deep and rather eloquent thinker.
    People here are funny. They work so hard at living - they forget how to live. Last night, after I left you, I was walking along and looking at the tall buildings and I got to thinking about what Thoreau said. They created a lot of grand palaces here - but they forgot to create the noblemen to put in them.
  • In Love with the Mark: Babe eggs Deeds on to party and break all the social norms of NYC high society so she can write some juicy articles, but the longer she spends with him the more she's attracted to his decent nature.
  • Meaningful Name: Deeds, get it?
  • Meet Cute: Once Deeds moves to the big city, Babe wants to meet him so she can do a big story on him — so she pretends to faint outside his mansion, and he gallantly comes to her aid.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Deeds is knocked out of his depressed stupor at the end of the movie when the prosecuting attorney forces Babe to admit she loves Deeds so he can treat her as a hostile witness.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Almost referenced by name at the end: "It is the opinion of this court that, not only are you sane, but you are the sanest man who ever walked into this courtroom!"
    • Jane and Amy Faulkner believe themselves to be this. They describe Deeds as pixilated (that's as in pixies, not computer graphics) but when he asks them who else in Mandrake Falls is pixilated?
    ""Why everyone, but us!"
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: A wealthy uncle dies and left his twenty million dollars to his nephew Longfellow Deeds, who had barely any contact with him and lives in upstate New York, rather than his already-wealthy shallow socialite nephew in the city. The second nephew and his wife are shown in a brief scene early on complaining that they aren't getting their long-expected fortune, and later Mr. Cedar turns to them to contest the will.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Quirky Townsfolk
  • Rags to Riches: Deeds isn't poor; in fact he co-owns a tallow factory and rents property. But he certainly isn't prepared to have twenty million dollars dropped in his lab.
  • The Remake: The 2002 remake staring Adam Sandler of all people!
  • The Roaring '20s
  • Screwball Comedy
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man
  • Sour Supporter: Cobb complains endlessly about Deeds' behavior, but when Babe turns up to apologize says that Deeds is one of the only good men to live in the city.
  • Spit Take: Cobb does an epic one when he finds out that Deeds is only concerned about where the town band will find another tuba player.
  • Those Two Guys: Babe's photographer duo.
  • Throwing Out the Script: A Capra staple trope.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Martin Semple was expected to leave his fortune to his other nephew, an already well-to-do man with a wife waiting for the money.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/MrDeedsGoesToTown