Article first published as DVD Review: Make Way for Tomorrow on Blogcritics.
Director: Leo McCarey
Writer: Viña Delmar, based on the novel The Years Are So Long by Josephine Lawrence and a play by Helen Leary and Noah Leary
For some reason, in our society, we are taught—if not by instruction, then by example—to discard the old. We are solely interested in the new, in the present, what is happening right now. Often, our obsessions or our problems have evaporated in a year or two, but no matter. Elderly people are relegated to nursing homes. The young are worshiped. Just try to get a bunch of kids to watch a movie from the 1940’s and see what happens (now that 80’s movies are being remade, it’s getting to the point where anything from before the mid-90’s is considered a relic). What we often neglect to remember is that one day we ourselves will be old, and then we’ll be on the outside looking in.
This is where Barkley and Lucy Cooper (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) find themselves. They are in their 70’s, and the bank has foreclosed on their house. Barkley hasn’t worked in four years, and “with everything goin’ out, and nothin’ coming in, I couldn’t keep up the payments.” They’ve gathered together their children to inform them that their home is no longer their home; they were given six months to move out, but the six months are up this Tuesday. The children, led by George (Thomas Mitchell), immediately start trying to devise a plan, but they aren’t wealthy and they don’t have much extra space in their own homes. Finally, a solution is hit upon: Lucy will stay with George, his wife Anita (Fay Bainter), and their teenage daughter Rhoda (Barbara Read); and Barkley will stay with Cora (Elisabeth Risdon) and her husband Bill (Ralph Remley) in New York City. They’ll be 300 miles apart, but it won’t be forever, right?