Make Way for Tomorrow
While not a box-office success, this drama, directed by Leo McCarey, developed a potent reputation among film critics and movie buffs for its sensitive and perceptive treatment of the problems of the elderly. When McCarey won the Oscar for Best Director the same year for The Awful Truth, he remarked that the Academy gave him the award for the wrong movie. Barkley and Lucy Cooper (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) are a couple in their late 60s who have fallen on hard times and have been given the bad news that the bank is foreclosing on their house. Barkley and Lucy turn to their five children for help, but none are willing or able to do much for them; their son George (Thomas Mitchell) says that Lucy can stay with him and his wife Anita (Fay Bainter), while Nellie (Minna Gombell) and her husband Harvey (Porter Hall) can take in Barkley, but neither couple have the space or the means to house them both. Living with their children and their new families proves stressful for everyone involved, and Lucy decides to take up residence in a home for older women. She and Barkley realize that this will probably mean a permanent separation for the two of them, and they try to enjoy one last outing together before they part. Remarkably, Beulah Bondi was only 46 years old when this film was made, making her less then ten years older than several of her on-screen children; make-up wizard Wally Westmore used his bag of tricks to age her the appropriate two decades for the role.