Longfellow Deeds lives in a small town, leading a small town kind of life - including playing the tuba in the town band. When a relative dies and leaves Deeds a fortune, Longfellow picks up his tuba and moves to the big city where he becomes an instant target for everyone from the greedy opera committee to the sensationist daily newspaper. Deeds outwits them all until Babe Bennett comes along. Babe is a hot-shot reporter who figures the best way to get close to Deeds is to pose as a damsel in distress. When small-town boy meets big-city girl anything can, and does, happen.Written by
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. See more »
When Jean Arthur first goes to the witness stand in the trial scene, she is carrying a small black purse. When, by the order of the judge, she returns to her seat, she does not bring the purse back with her.
While she does walk back to the seat without her purse, the bailiff carries it while walking her back to her seat and hands it to her editor friend who is with her. See more »
You are in love with him, aren't you?
What's that got to do with it?
You are, aren't you?
Your honor, her testimony is of no value. Why shouldn't she defend him? It's the typical American womanhood. The instinct to protect the weak.
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Winthrop Oliver Warner (a studio musician) actually played the tuba for the film. See more »
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
In the score during the opening credits and often throughout the film See more »
Tuba player inherits fortune and becomes a Cinderella Man and gets pixiliated in Manhattan!
One of Frank Capra's strengths as a film director was the great team he assembled. Not only did he have a great technical group behind him, but his casts combined talent that went from the major stars to the bit players.
In this fable, Mr. Capra gives an answer to those of us that always pondered: what would one do if one inherited a lot of money, or if one won the lottery (fat chance!) It must be terrifying to suddenly have a lot of wealth, in this case 20 million during the worst days of the Great Depression. Sometimes it's better to stay poor rather than have to deal with strangers that have designs on one's newly found wealth!
Gary Cooper has never been as charming as the tuba playing, country bumpkin whose life is changed dramatically when he has to go to Manhattan to claim his inheritance. His Longfellow Deeds gets to see first hand how the high society, his uncle belonged to, deals with this unsophisticated greeting card writing poet.
Jean Arthur was a natural comedienne. She is wonderful in this movie as the reporter who tricks Deeds into speaking with her and in the process falls in love with the man, the object of the ridicule she writes about.
Leonard Standing, one of the best character actors of the era, is equally effective as Cobb, the man who knows a thing or two about those society folks. George Bancroft was also good as MacWade.
The film has a pace that never lets the viewer down. In comparison with what passes today as film comedy, this is a masterpiece. It shows the genius of Frank Capra in charge of this group of people that make us treasure films like this one even if it's pure nonsense, which after all, was what the director was looking for to make us laugh.
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