Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

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Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds.
Jean Arthur as Louise "Babe" Bennett.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 American comedy film about a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player who inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.

Directed by Frank Capra. Written by Robert Riskin, based on the story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland.
Rocking America with laughter!


Longfellow Deeds[edit]

  • [after shaking hands with attorney Cedar] Even his hands are oily.
  • What puzzles me is why people seem to get so much pleasure out of, out of hurting each other? Why don't they try liking each other once in a while?
  • People here are funny. They work so hard at living they forget how to live. Last night, after I left you, I was walking along and - and lookin' at the tall buildings, and I got to thinking about what Thoreau said. 'They created a lot of grand palaces here, but they forgot to create the noblemen to put in them.' I'd rather have Mandrake Falls.
  • When the servant comes in, Mr. Hallor, I'm going to ask him to show you to the door. Many people don't know where it is.
  • From what I can see, no matter what system of government we have, there will always be leaders and always be followers. It's like the road out in front of my house. It's on a steep hill. Every day I watch the cars climbing up. Some go lickety-split up that hill on high, some have to shift into second, and some sputter and shake and slip back to the bottom again. Same cars, same gasoline, yet some make it and some don't. And I say the fellas who can make the hill on high should stop once in a while and help those who can't. That's all I'm trying to do with this money. Help the fellas who can't make the hill on high.
  • It's like I'm out in a big boat, and I see one fellow in a rowboat who's tired of rowing and wants a free ride, and another fellow who's drowning. Who would you expect me to rescue? Mr. Cedar - who's just tired of rowing and wants a free ride? Or those men out there who are drowning? Any ten year old child will give you the answer to that.

Cornelius Cobb[edit]

  • [to Babe] You're wasting your time. He doesn't want any lawyers. He's sunk so low he doesn't want help from anybody. You can take a bow for that. As swell a guy as ever hit this town, and you crucified him for a couple of stinking headlines. You've done your bit. Stay out of his way.

Judge May[edit]

  • Mr. Deeds, there has been a great deal of damaging testimony against you. Your behavior, to say the least, has been most strange. But in the opinion of the court, you are not only sane, but you're the sanest man that ever walked into this courtroom!

Dialogue[edit]

Cedar: Do you know a fellow by the name of Longfellow Deeds?
Stationmaster: Deeds?...Yes sir, yes, indeedy. Everyone knows Deeds.
Cedar: We'd like to get in touch with him. It's very important.
Stationmaster: Deeds. Fine fellow, very democratic. You won't have no trouble at all. Talks to anybody.

Mrs. Meredith: He's over to the park arranging a bazaar so as to make money for the fire engines. Mal, you should have known he was at the park.
Stationmaster: Knew it all the time, but these men said they wanted to see the house. Can't read their minds if they don't say what they want.

Cedar: [giving his card to Deeds] I'm John Cedar, of the New York firm of Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington.
Deeds: [chuckling] Budington must feel like an awful stranger.
...
Deeds: Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington. Funny, I can't think of a rhyme for "Budington".
Cobb: Why should you?
Deeds: Well, whenever I run across the funny name, I like to poke around for a rhyme.

Deeds: He talks about women as if they were cattle.
Walter: Every man to his taste, sir.
Deeds: Tell me, Walter. Are all these stories I hear about my uncle true?
Walter: Well, sir. He sometimes had as many as 20 in the house at the same time.
Deeds: 20! What did he do with them?
Walter: That is something I was never able to find out, sir.

Morrow: Pal, look, how would you like to go on a real old-fashioned binge?
Deeds: Binge?
Morrow: Yeah, I mean the real McCoy. Listen, you play saloon with me and I'll introduce you to every wit, nitwit, and half-wit in New York. We'll go on a twister that'll make Omar the soused philosopher of Persia look like an anemic on a goat's milk diet!
Deeds: Well, I guess that oughtta be fun.
Morrow: Fun? Listen, I'll take you on a bender that will live in your memory as a thing of beauty and a joy forever!

Morrow: You hop aboard my magic carpet and I'll show you sights that you've never seen before.
Deeds: Well, I'd kinda like to see Grant's tomb and the Statue of Liberty.
Morrow: Well, you'll not only see those, but before the evening's half through, you'll be leaning against the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you'll mount Mount Everest, I'll show you the Pyramids and all the little pyramidees, leaping from sphinx to sphinx!

Deeds: Hand me my pants. I wrote her phone number on a piece of paper.
Walter: You have no pants, sir. You came home last night without them.
Deeds: I did what?
Walter: As a matter of fact, you came home without any clothes at all. You were in your shorts. Yes, sir.
Deeds: Don't be silly, Walter. I couldn't walk around on the streets without any clothes. I'd be arrested.
Walter: That's what the two policemen said, sir.
Deeds: What two policemen?
Walter: The ones who brought you home, sir. They said you and another gentleman kept walking up and down the street shouting "back to nature! Clothes are a blight on civilization! Back to nature!"

Babe: [at Grant's Tomb] To most people, it's an awful let-down....To most people, it's a washout.
Deeds: Well, that depends on what they see.
Babe: Now what do you see?
Deeds: Me? Oh I see a small Ohio farm boy becoming a great soldier. I see thousands of marching men. I see General Lee with a broken heart surrendering. And I can see the beginning of a new nation, like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as President. Things like that can only happen in a country like America.

Babe: Mabel, that guy's either the dumbest, stupidest or the most imbecilic idiot in the world or else he's the grandest thing alive. I can't make him out... I'm crucifying him.
Mabel: People have been crucified before.
Babe: Why? Why do we have to do it?
Mabel: You started out to be a successful newspaper woman, didn't ya?...
Babe: Here's a guy that's wholesome and fresh. To us, he looks like a freak. Do you know what he told me tonight? He said when he gets married, he wants to carry his bride over the threshold in his arms... I tried to laugh, but I couldn't. It stuck in my throat... He's got goodness, Mabel. Do you know what that is?... No, of course you don't. We've forgotten. We're too busy being smart alecks. Too busy in a crazy competition for nothing.

Cedar: Do you know the defendant, Mr. Longfellow Deeds?
[long pause]
Jane Faulkner: Oh yes, yes, of course we know him.
Cedar: How long have you known him?
[Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Since he was born.
Amy Faulkner: Yes, Elsie Taggart was the midwife.
Jane Faulkner: He was a seven months' baby.
Cedar: Thank you, that's, that's fine. Do you see him very often?
[Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Most every day.
Amy Faulkner: Sometimes twice.
Judge May: Must we have the echo?
John Cedar: Suppose you just answer, Miss Jane. Now, will you tell the court what everybody at home thinks of Longfellow Deeds?
[pause; then Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: They think he's pixilated.
Amy Faulkner: Oh, yes, pixilated.
Judge May: He's what?
Cedar: What was that you said he was?
Jane Faulkner: Pixilated.
Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.
Cedar: Now that's rather a strange word to us, Miss Jane. Can you tell the court exactly what it means?
Board member: Perhaps I can explain, Your Honor. The word "pixilated" is an early American expression derived from the word "pixies," meaning elves. They would say the pixies had got him. As we nowadays would say, a man is "barmy."
Judge May: Oh. Is that correct?
Jane Faulkner: Mm-hmm.
Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.

John: Your honor, what she is saying has no bearing on the case. I object!
Judge May: Let me speak!
Babe: I know why he won't defend himself! That has a bearing on the case, hasn't it? He's been hurt, he's been hurt by everybody he met since he came here, principally me. He's been the victim of every conniving crook in town. The newspapers pounced on him, made him a target for their feeble humor. I was smarter than the rest of them: I got closer to him, so I could laugh louder. Why shouldn't he keep quiet - every time he said anything, it was twisted around to sound imbecilic! He can thank me for it. I handed the gang a grand laugh. It's a fitting climax to my sense of humor.
John: Why, your honor? This is preposterous.
Babe: Certainly I wrote those articles. I was going to get a raise, a month's vacation. But I stopped writing them when I found out what he was all about, when I realized how real he was. He could never fit in with our distorted viewpoint. Because he's honest, and sincere, and good. If that man's crazy, your honor, the rest of us belong in straitjackets!
John: Your honor, this is absurd. The woman's obviously in love with him.
Babe: What's that got to do with it?
John: Well, you are in love with him. Aren't you?
Babe: What's that got to do with it?
John: You are. Aren't you?
Babe: Yes!

Deeds: Now, um, heh, now about the Faulkner sisters. That's kind of funny. I mean, about Mr. Cedar going all the way to Mandrake Falls to bring them here. Do you mind if I talk to them?
Judge May: Not at all.
Deeds: Jane, who owns the house you live in?
[pause; then Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Why, you own it, Longfellow.
Amy Faulkner: Yes, you own it.
Deeds: Do you pay any rent?
Jane Faulkner: No, we don't pay any rent.
Amy Faulkner: Good heavens, no, we never pay rent.
Deeds: Are you happy there?
Jane Faulkner: Oh, yes.
Amy Faulkner: Yes indeed.
Deeds: Now, uh, Jane, a little while ago you said I was pixilated. Do you still think so?
[Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Why, you've always been pixilated, Longfellow.
Amy Faulkner: Always.
Deeds: That's fine, hm, I guess maybe I am. And now tell me something, Jane: who else in Mandrake Falls is pixilated?
Jane Faulkner: Why, everybody in Mandrake Falls is pixilated - except us.
Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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