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Make Way for Tomorrow (The Criterion Collection)

4.8 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap. Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi headline a cast of incomparable character actors, starring as an elderly couple who must move in with their grown children after the bank takes their home, yet end up separated and subject to their offspring's selfish whims. An inspiration for Ozu's Tokyo Story, MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW is among American cinema's purest tearjerkers, all the way to its unflinching ending, which McCarey refused to change despite studio pressure. (studio)

How, you may wonder, have you never heard of Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow, a film garlanded with the following raves from major critics: "There are few American films as subtle, moving and bursting with human truth" (Dave Kehr), "Beautiful and heartbreaking" (Roger Ebert), "Hollywood movies don't get much better than this" (Jonathan Rosenbaum)? The film's low profile in film history probably has a variety of causes: it flopped on its initial release, it lacks recognizable stars that might bring it residual interest, and its director, though an Oscar winner in his time, did not sustain his post-career reputation the way his contemporary and friend Frank Capra did. With the Criterion Collection's 2010 DVD release, this 1937 picture may finally assume its place of honor in the movie imagination of the public at large. Set when the Depression was still a reality, the film looks at an elderly couple, played by Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi, whose savings are gone and whose house is repossessed by the bank. The only feasible solution their children can find is to divide the parents up: Mom will stay with the eldest son (Thomas Mitchell) and his family in Manhattan, and Dad will bunk with a daughter in a small town 300 miles away. McCarey deals with this heartbreaking situation so plainly and directly, and yet with such on-target humor, that you almost don't notice how devastating the results are, and his work with Moore and Bondi--best known as character actors in film--is superb. The final half-hour bestows kindness on the couple but doesn't shy away from the story's only possible conclusion. Orson Welles described the movie's effect in perhaps the most succinct terms: "It could make a stone cry." See it, and discover a classic. --Robert Horton

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Tomorrow, Yesterday, and Today, a new video interview featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich discussing the career of Leo McCarey and his thoughts on Make Way for Tomorrow
New video interview with critic Gary Giddins in which he talks about McCarey’s artistry and the political and social context of the film
A booklet featuring new essays by critic Tag Gallagher and filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, as well as an excerpt from film scholar Robin Wood’s 1998 piece: Leo McCarey and Family Values"

Product Details

  • Actors: Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Porter Hall
  • Directors: Leo McCarey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002XUL6SA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,106 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Make Way for Tomorrow (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. D. DORSOGNA on December 31, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this movie for the first time years ago, back in the days before AMC became a commercial ridden purveyor of (mostly) films of dubious value (MAD MEN not withstanding). I was bowled over by it then: it was a film of such honest SENTIMENT , completely devoid of sentamentality, that I could not believe it was a Leo McCarey film, the filmmaker who esentially was an expert purveyor of SENTIMENTALITY (so effective - yet manipulative - in GOING MY WAY) as well a fine interpreter of the Marx Brothers, W.C.Fields, and Stan Laurel and OLiver Hardy AND arguably one of the godfathers of screwball comedy).
Then the film vanished, although I do recall seeing a lousy VHS pirate from AMC several years later. There is also a French DVD out, uncompatible unless you have a region free DVD, that seems to have come from pretty good source material but has (no surprise) French subtitles) that (surprise) cannot be turned off.
It has remained then for the folks at Criterion to ride to the rescue, and I cannot wait to see what they do for this movie.
I do not believe there is a more heart-rending finale to any American film that deals with intrafamilial relations than this one; a defy anyone to watch the last half-hour of this movie without a lump in their throat. One must flash forward to BICYCLE THIEVES and UMBERTO D. to witness such unsparing - but right - realism.
Beulah Bondi and Victor Moore as the elderly couple are utterly believable as the olpeople caught in a vise of family politics. The supporting cast, lead by Thomas Mitchell, is superb. The absence of any musical score, though jarring at first, underlines McCarey's realism.
Buy this, watch it, re-watch it, show it to your children, grab your neighbors, make them watch it. Its humanism will make anyone who sees it "love his neighbor" better.
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Format: DVD
With the Oscars 2 weeks away, let's look back 75 years and read what reviewers of its day wrote about a picture that went completely unrecognised by the Academy; and whose producer/director chastised its members from the podium for that ignorance when he accepted the best director statue for a comedy he made the same year, saying "Thanks, but you gave me this for the wrong picture." Can you imagine anyone having that kind of intestinal fortitude today; risking their careers with such a courageous gesture? Now that speech would have been the perfect special feature to include on this already wonderful release. (And just maybe, since MWFT wasn't nominated, but voter's still had the opportunity to cast their ballot for Mr. McCarey...maybe they actually did give it to him for this picture after all.)

VARIETY, Posted: Fri., Jan. 1, 1937

Rugged simplicity marks this Leo McCarey production [from a novel by Josephine Laurence and a play by Helen and Nolan Leary]. It is a tear-jerker, obviously grooved for femme fans. McCarey, who also directed, has firmly etched the dilemma in which an elderly married couple find themselves when they lose their old dwelling place and their five grown-up children are non-receptive. He keeps audience interest focused on old Lucy Cooper and Pa Cooper as they are separated, each finding themselves in the way and not fitting in with the two households (one with a son and the other with a daughter).
Victor Moore essays a serious role as Pa Cooper without firmly establishing himself in the new field. He continues to be more Victor Moore than an old grandfather, and he makes the biggest impression in the lighter, more whimsical moments. Beulah Bondi, as the aged Lucy is standout from the viewpoint of clever character work and make-up.
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I recall seeing this movie probably 30 years ago on TV and even at that time, being a teen-ager this film touched me in a way that no other film has ever effected me. This film stayed with me for years, then I was lucky enough to catch it, I think it was on AMC (prior to it becoming a clone of the other broadcast channels)when there were not commericals or constant station logo annoyingly appearing at the right hand corner of the screen. I recorded it and have watched it countless times over the years and enjoyed it each and everytime (yes...I cried too!)

I trust that Criterion has done an excellent job with the restoration- They usually do a marvelous job, so I have no doubt this film will impress all the film lovers out there!

The cast is wonderful but my favorite is Beulah Bondi as the mother who loves her husband and children unconditionally. The heartbreak you feel for her is so real, it will stay with you long after the film ends.
My grandmother had an old-time saying "one mother can take care of 10 children, but 10 children can not take care of one mother" and this movie proves her old proverb as being the honest truth.

This past year I introduced this film to a friend and classic film lover, but she had never seen it. Her reaction to the film was what I expected...she could not believe that she had never seen it, or even heard of it and how was that possible with such a beautifully well done film! I knew the answer to this, as all the flim buffs know the studios would rather produce DVDs of films dealing with murders, rapes, profanity, nudity and drugs...the assumption being that sex/violence sells- What a sad statement on our society! I would rather have my children see this film than any of the 'Halloween' or 'Friday the 13th' films.
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