Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi, two of the great Hollywood character actors, portray the couple whose house the bank has foreclosed upon, and who are forced subsequently to move into their children's homes in the city. A near-musical restructuring of gratitude and debt ensues once the offspring deem the couple's lodging an imposition: the two are separated, then reunited weeks later... as they glide inexorably into an uncertain future.
A remarkable film which deserves wider recognition
- Make Way for Tomorrow review by LR
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You rated this film: 5
This is an outstanding film for its time (1937) and it is deeply engaging and effective even today. The subject matter is old age, with its concomitant frailty, vulnerability and the feeling of being a burden on one's off-spring. The subject is handled very well indeed, with acute social observation and flashes of wit which lift the mood. However, the seriousness of the subject is never lost - we feel for the old couple who are losing their physical competence and turn to their sons and daughter for help. Anyone who visits an elderly relative in a care home or nursing home, will recognise the truth of the basic scenario and will appreciate the emotional currents which swirl around all the family members - feelings of deep-seated love, guilt, resentment, selfishness, helplessness, etc. The strength of the film is that it faces up to all the complexity of the situation and stirs our emotions as we struggle to find a resolution to the problem.
This film is often described as a 'neglected masterpiece'. I agree. It deserves to be as well-known as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Citizen Kane". It might even be said to be better than either of those films because its humanity is so firmly grounded and so effectively expressed.