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Make Way for Tomorrow

(1937 b 92')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Adapted from Josephine Lawrence's novel and the play by Henry and Noah Leary, an elderly couple lose their home and must live with their children.

George Cooper (Thomas Mitchell) comes home to Ma Cooper (Beulah Bondi) and Pa Cooper (Victor Moore) and finds Nellie Chase (Minna Gombell), Cora Payne (Elisabeth Risdon), and Robert Cooper (Ray Mayer) gathered. Pa says the bank is taking over their house, and they have to move by Tuesday. George says he will take in Pa, and Cora takes Ma; Nellie promises to take both in three months. George's daughter Rhoda (Barbara Read) complains about Grandma in her room. George calls Nellie, but her husband Harvey Chase (Porter Hall) won't take Ma. Ma sent George's shirts out, and this causes problems. George's wife Anita (Fay Bainter) teaches bridge while Ma rocks in a squeaky chair. Anita asks Ma to go with Rhoda to the movies. Rhoda sneaks out to see a boy; Ma notices but says she won't tell. Bridge players listen as Ma talks on the telephone to Pa.

In a store Pa talks with owner Max Rubens (Maurice Moscovitch), who suggests a caretaker job. Pa broke his glasses, and Max reads him a letter from Ma. George and Anita go out and leave Ma alone with the maid, whom Ma gives the night off. Rhoda tells Ma to face it that Pa won't get work. Ma and Anita quarrel, because Ma did not tell her about Rhoda. Cora puts Pa in a bed when the doctor (Louis Jean Heydt) arrives, and Pa complains. Max calls to visit Pa and gives him soup, while Cora is unfriendly. Anita tells George that Rhoda no longer brings her friends home. George tells Ma that Pa is going to stay with their daughter in California. Ma asks George to let her go to the old age home and says Pa must never know.

Ma and Pa meet for five hours before he leaves. A car salesman gives them a ride. Ma and Pa recall their honeymoon and go to the same hotel for cocktails. Pa calls Nellie to say they are not coming for dinner. Pa and Ma tell the hotel manager about their fifty years of marriage. Pa expresses his love for Ma, and she recites a romantic poem. They dance to waltz music, and in the cab Pa sings "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." Robert and George realize that they are terrible children. At the station Pa and Ma say that they enjoyed their years together and kiss each other good-bye.

This drama is tremendously sad when Ma and Pa are separated and bothersome in their children's' homes; but it is balanced by the few happy hours they spend together on their last honeymoon that demonstrates how well they love each other even though their children do not love them much.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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