in about 100 words or less
US 91m, B&W
Director: Leo McCarey; Cast: Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Fay Bainter, Elizabeth Risdon, Porter Hall
As a cautionary tale for us all, Make Way for Tomorrow is one of the most melancholy, if not depressing movies ever made. When an elderly couple faces financial ruin, they take refuge with their reluctant children and their families, but must do so hundreds of miles apart, as none of the siblings are willing to take both of them together. Portrayed as a nuisance and a disruption to their children’s lives, they are coerced into a plan which will effectively keep them apart for the remaining years of their now ruined lives. Resigned to their fate, the elderly couple follows the wishes of their children, as all “good” parents should – at least in 1937. Although the reality of the vitality of our parents is cheerfully out of date in the early twenty-first century, unfortunately the nuclear family remains a structure which has little time for its more mature members (Klaus Ming March 2011).