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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) Poster

Trivia

This movie marks the entry of the verb doodle (in the sense of absent-minded scribbling) into the English language. The word was coined for the movie by screenwriter Robert Riskin.
Jean Arthur never saw the film until she and Frank Capra were guests at a 1972 film festival.
Harry Cohn had a dictum in that he would only allow his directors to print any one of their takes, thereby saving the studio a great deal of money. Frank Capra found a loophole in getting round this. At the end of each take, instead of shouting "Cut" he would shout "Do it again", and the actors would launch immediately into an unbroken repetition of the scene.
Columbia and Frank Capra intended to make a sequel to this movie, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, entitled "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington" , based on the story "The Gentleman from Wyoming" (alternately called "The Gentleman from Montana" by both contemporary and modern sources) by Lewis R. Foster. This story was instead turned into the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), directed by Frank Capra and starring Arthur and James Stewart.
Bess Flowers was an extra in this movie. Nicknamed "Queen of the Hollywood Extras" Flowers appeared in over 700 movies of which 21 were Oscar noms for Best Picture of which 5 won. This makes her a record holder for an actor appearing in Best Picture winning films.
From the start, Frank Capra was convinced that Gary Cooper would be perfect for the part of Longfellow Deeds. Production had to wait six months for Cooper to become available, incurring costs of $100,000 for the delay in filming.
The tender scene in which Babe (Jean Arthur) recites a poem that Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) wrote for her was almost deleted because Frank Capra thought it was too sappy. Jean Arthur had been working very hard on that scene and convinced Capra to at least film it, which he did. The bit of Deeds tripping over the garbage cans was added to provide comic relief to break the sentimental mood.
Carole Lombard was originally down to play the female lead but she backed out three days before production began to go work on My Man Godfrey (1936). Shooting had to begin without a female lead in place.
Jean Arthur was so overcome with stage fright, that she often vomited before scenes and would run back to her dressing room after each take to have a good cry. Yet she was totally cool on camera. Gary Cooper was one of the few actors who could make her feel comfortable on the set.
The film cost over $800,000 which was a very high figure for 1936.
According to a Motion Picture Herald news item, the film was banned in Germany "on the ground that non-Aryan actors had participated" in the production.
The scene in which Deeds meets several famous writers and columnists at a New York restaurant, and finds them to be witty but also sarcastic and rude, is a reference to the Algonquin Round Table, with the character Bill Morrow being loosely based on Alexander Woollcott.
One way Frank Capra maintained control over his work was by refusing to shoot if any studio executives came on the set. Whenever Harry Cohn would come on set, Capra would call a half-hour coffee break. The lost time was so expensive, Cohn rarely showed his face.
Gary Cooper's relaxed acting style mirrored his off-stage approach to the work. Although the film marked a major step in his career, between scenes he would often lie down on the floor, pull his hat over his eyes and grab a quick nap in the midst of all the commotion of filmmaking.
In the movie, Mr. Deeds couldn't find a word to rhyme with "Budington". This is the writer's middle name (Writers: Clarence Budington Kelland (story)).
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Columbia Pictures had so much faith in it that they sold the film to exhibitors as a one-shot deal, rather than including it in a package of films designed to sell each other.
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Frank Capra used several tricks from his Harry Langdon films to make Gary Cooper look young and innocent. In Cooper's first scene, he wears a bow tie with a jacket that's too short and tight for him.
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Columbia head Harry Cohn was set against Jean Arthur being cast as the female lead. Frank Capra was finally able to persuade him by insisting that Cohn listen to her voice not study her face.
First film for which Harry Cohn authorized Frank Capra to have his name above the title.
Screenwriter Robert Riskin considered this to be his favorite film.
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Russell Hicks is in studio records/casting call lists for the role of 'Dr. Malcolm,' but he did not appear or was not identifiable in this movie
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 1, 1937 with Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur and Lionel Stander reprising their film roles.
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Originally Frank Capra was going to make Lost Horizon (1937) after Broadway Bill (1934) but Ronald Colman couldn't get out of his other filming commitments. So Capra decided to make this film instead.
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Although Frank Capra always boasted that he never went over budget, this came in five percent over budget, mainly because he shot from more different angles than he had on his earlier films,
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At the beginning of the film when the lawyers go to the house where Deeds lives, the housekeeper opens the door to let them in and leaves the door open. The next scene where Deeds comes home, the dog jumps up on a closed door which had never been closed.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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