Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Leo McCarey made his name with comedies like the Laurel and Hardy shorts and the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (1933), but in his opinion his best film was this quiet drama about aging, so powerful that Orson Welles said, “It would make a stone cry.” MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW was so far ahead of its time, it might not even be feasible today. Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi star as an aged couple who lose their home, leaving them no way to be together. None of their children can take in both, and when they separate, ostensibly until they can work things out, each is aware of being viewed as a burden. The film is never maudlin or judgmental. The couple’s problems are presented as facts of life, with the children’s responses not villainous, just human. The film flopped at the box office, costing McCarey his contract at Paramount. When he won Best Director for The Awful Truth the same year, he told interviewers he had gotten the award for the wrong film.

Dir. Leo McCarey

In attendance: Pete Hammond