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FILMS THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW: Part 2, Make Way For Tomorrow

Lists of must-see films for any self-respecting fan almost always include Casablanca and
Citizen Kane, and deservedly so. But there are so many other worthy pictures which are
often overlooked. So, from film-fan to film-fan, here’s a recommendation from our must-see list.

MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937)
Director: Leo McCarey
Starring: Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi
Writers: Viña Delmar
Editor: LeRoy Stone

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Lucy and Barkley Cooper (Bondi and Moore) are an adorable and doting couple who are no longer able to take care of things as they once were.

Due to financial troubles, they lose the family home.

Their five adult children – George (Thomas Mitchell), Nellie (Minna Gombell), Cora (Elisabeth Risdon), Robert (Ray Meyer) and Addie (unseen) – must then decide who should bear the responsibility of caring for their parents.

Each of the offspring has a family of his/her own – all of whom regard Mom and Dad’s presence as a nuisance. None of the children are able to take both parents, not immediately anyway.

So for the first time in fifty years, the Coopers are parted, each going off to live with a different child until one of them, Nellie, can take both parents in three months’ time.

However, neither Nellie nor her husband, who has let her know in no uncertain terms that her parents would not be welcome, are exactly thrilled by this prospect.

Mr. and Mrs. Cooper often receive more compassion from perfect strangers than they do from family. There is a particularly lovely scene in a hotel where the couple spends a few hours together. This is the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon so many years before. The hotel staff and musicians fuss over Coopers, treating them exactly like you would want someone to treat your own parents.

The film also touches on the issue of ageism in employment. Barkley mentions returning to work several times, even applies for a job. But he is rejected; his years of experience do not seem to matter. Bitter, with moments of tenderness, this film is just devastating.

Some of you may be able to get through this film without crying; for everyone else, we politely suggest a couple of boxes of tissues.

Leonard Maltin called Make Way for Tomorrow “shatteringly true, beautifully done.” We could not agree more.

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RATING: Five Whistles

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HOW TO WATCH: Amazon 

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IMAGES: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Criterion

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OTHER MOVIES TO KNOW:

* The Narrow Margin (1952)

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

H.J. Saunders, MA, CET

An exercise physiologist and personal trainer, H.J. has been involved in the health, fitness, and recreational industries for over 25-years. H.J. is an internationally recognized fitness innovator and crusader, developing comprehensive exercise and well-care programs for individuals and organizations ranging from neighborhood elementary schools, to multi-million dollar corporations and institutions He has also been involved with government initiatives such as The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent & Decrease Overweight & Obesity, and The Physical Activity Guidelines and National Plan for Americans. Articles and interviews have appeared in local and national magazines, periodicals, and on radio and television. Shihan Saunders is a practicing 6th degree black belt and teaches Isshinryu Karate to people of all ages. H.J. is founder and president of The Youth Fitness Coalition (www.cofitness.net). He is also a member of SAG-AFTRA.

Ylana Kellar, MFA

Ylana is an actress‚ writer and singer whose credits include: Playing Alexina (Theatre of Necessity), In the Family Way (produced and directed by Rachel Gordon), and Everything’s Coming Up Ro’ses (web series created by and starring Roetta Collins‚ directed by Lee Eypper). On the other side of the camera, Ylana has associate-produced several travelogue shorts for The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park Visitors Center (Middlebrook, Missouri)‚ and the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower Visitors Center (Hartford‚ Illinois)‚ all of which were produced and directed by Geralyn Abinader | gaMedia Group. Ylana currently serves on the SAG-AFTRA New York Local Women’s Committee. She is a former member of the boards of directors of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and Women in the Arts and Media Coalition. She has produced numerous entertainment / arts based programs, and has served as a panelist and moderator for such programs as well. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA (www.ylana.net).

In their spare time H.J. and Ylana watch too many movies, read too many liner notes, and run the on-line vintage yard-sale Rita’s Retros www.ritasretros.com.