Mr Deeds Goes to Town

  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Clarence Budington Kelland, Robert Riskin
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur

In the middle of the Great Depression, Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), co-owner of a tallow works, part-time greeting card poet and tuba-playing inhabitant of the hamlet of Mandrake Falls, Vermont, inherits the enormous fortune of 20 million dollars from his late uncle, Martin Semple. His uncle’s scheming attorney, John Cedar (Douglass Dumbrille), locates Deeds and takes him to New York City.

Cedar gives his cynical troubleshooter, ex-newspaperman Cornelius Cobb (Lionel Stander), the task of keeping reporters away from the heir. He is outfoxed, however, by star reporter Louise “Babe” Bennett (Jean Arthur), who appeals to Deeds’ romantic fantasy of rescuing a damsel in distress by masquerading as a poor worker named Mary Dawson. She pretends to faint from exhaustion after “walking all day to find a job” and worms her way into his confidence. She proceeds to write a series of enormously popular articles mocking Longfellow’s hick ways and odd behavior, naming him the “Cinderella Man”. Meanwhile, Cedar tries to get Deeds’ power of attorney in order to keep his financial misdeeds secret.

Deeds, however, proves to be a shrewd judge of character, easily fending off Cedar and other greedy opportunists. He wins Cobb’s wholehearted respect and eventually Babe’s love. However, when Cobb finds out Bennett’s true identity, Deeds is left heartbroken.

During his sanity hearing, things look bleak for Deeds, especially since he initially refuses to defend himself. Cedar even gets Deeds’s Mandrake Falls tenants, eccentric elderly sisters Jane and Amy Faulkner (Margaret Seddon and Margaret McWade), to testify that Deeds is “pixilated.” That charge falls apart when the two spinsters admit that everyone in town, except themselves, suffers from the same affliction. When Babe convinces Deeds that she truly loves him, he systematically punches holes in Cedar’s case (before punching Cedar in the face) and the judge declares him to be “the sanest man who ever walked into this courtroom”.

Mr Deeds

  • Directors: Steven Brill
  • Producers: Sid Ganis, Jack Giarraputo
  • Writers: Tim Herlihy, based on a story by, Clarence Budington Kelland
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris, Allen Covert, Erick Avari, and John Turturro

Preston Blake started out in his career hoping to be a television broadcaster as a young man, slowly working his way up through the ranks to found Blake Media, a corporation running hundreds of television and radio stations and with 50 thousand employees. After Blake freezes to death at the summit of Mount Everest with a triumphant smile on his face, a search for his heir begins.

When it is found that he has a living nephew named Longfellow Deeds who runs a pizzeria in New Hampshire, Deeds is contacted and brought to New York City by attorney & businessman Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher). Plans are made for Deeds to sell his shares in the company to Cedar and return home $40 billion richer, but he must remain in New York for a few days as all the legal details are worked out.

The story is major news, and reporter Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), who works for a tabloid show called Inside Access, has a friend pretend to steal her purse in sight of Deeds, because their research indicated Deed wanted to meet a girl by saving her, the same way his father had met his mother. Deeds rescues her and she continues to go out with him under the disguise of Pam Dawson, a school nurse from Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa (a town she made up on the spot when asked where she was from, which later turns out to be a real place).

As Emilio is the true heir, Deeds’ sale of his shares to Cedar is not legal. Emilio immediately takes control and fires Cedar, among others. Babe reveals herself to Deeds and apologizes for tricking him, and they reconcile and Deeds falls in love again. As they’re leaving, Emilio gives Deeds a billion dollars, some of which Deeds spends on Corvettes for the entire town, and he returns to Mandrake Falls with his new wife Babe, where he learns that Hallmark Cards has bought one of his cards, the one he wrote for Babe.