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Ellery Cushing is full of catchy sayings and old-fashioned wisdom. But all that his family cares about is how much money he makes, and all that his boss at the newspaper sees is that Cushing is getting too old to keep up with his work. So his loyal co-worker Phil decides to see what he can do to help everyone see what his friend has to offer. —Snow Leopard
Depression-era Family of Five Movie is a Solid Success
"A Successful Failure (1934) is a gentle and enjoyable smaller-budget film from the middle of the Great Depression that peels back the curtains for a view into a household of a middle-aged mom and dad with three children from about 11 or 12 years of age to just above 20, give or take. The two older kids are somewhat in the doldrums over how their immediate prospects for substantially increased spending money is unlikely, what with the father having a modestly-paying job and no one else working, not to mention the constraints imposed by the Depression-era times they are in. They are both also wrestling with burgeoning temptations and youthful naive idealism. Twelve-year old (or thereabouts) Tommy is still young enough to admire the down-to-earth gentle-natured wisdom of his Dad, having not yet been stirred by the need to be contrary and restless on the world stage like his older siblings. The homemaker mother would like a little more income flow, too, and lets her wishes for Dad to bring home a higher paycheck be known daily. But she keeps her best-face forward and serves as the glue that holds the family together. She is proudly content in her role of mother to all of them, Dad included. The question that needs to be answered by movie's end is if wisdom-based family values will prevail or at least color the future direction of this family, or if the temptations and idealism of youth will win out and the family move along on a path of possibly being irrevocably splintered. The acting in this film is relaxed and the dialog delivered naturally. The time spent with the characters zips on by. If one is reading these reviews because one has an interest in films about family during the Great Depression, or in any era, I say by all means dive in, as it likely will be worth your while!
- Aug 26, 2019
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