Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Classic Tearjerker

Make Way for Tomorrow (Criterion)
Leo McCarey’s 1937 melodrama, one of Hollywood’s supreme tearjerkers, never approaches mere sentimentality. A forerunner of Yasujiro Ozu’s classic Tokyo Story (1953), Make Way explores how a long-married couple is shunted aside by their children in turn after losing their comfortable Manhattan apartment to the local bank. McCarey shows how aging parents can make their grown children so uncomfortable that they prefer not to deal with them—the resulting finale, when the couple goes “on the town” one final time, is memorably poignant.

The film's biggest flaw is a group of one-dimensional actors unable to carry the weight of their acidly-drawn characters; other than that, Make Way for Tomorrow is another DVD triumph for Criterion. The 73-year-old black and white film looks splendid, and the contextual supplements include interviews with Peter Bogdanovich and Gary Giddins, and insightful essays by Tag Gallagher and director Bertrand Tavernier. originally posted on

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