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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Tomorrow, Yesterday, and Today, a new video interview featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich discussing the career of Leo McCarey and his thoughts on Make Way for Tomorrow
  • New video interview with critic Gary Giddins in which he talks about McCarey's artistry and the political and social context of the film

Make Way For Tomorrow


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Leo McCarey
Starring: Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi
1937 | 92 Minutes | Licensor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #505
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: February 23, 2010
Review Date: February 16, 2010

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SYNOPSIS

Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap. Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi headline a cast of incomparable character actors, starring as an elderly couple who must move in with their grown children after the bank takes their home, yet end up separated and subject to their offspring's selfish whims. An inspiration for Ozu's Tokyo Story, Make Way for Tomorrow is among American cinema's purest tearjerkers, all the way to its unflinching ending, which McCarey refused to change despite studio pressure.

Forum members rate this film 9.1/10

 

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PICTURE

Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this dual-layer disc. The image has been window-boxed.

The digital transfer found on here is pretty clean, presenting a consistently sharp image with no genuine problems other than maybe the film’s grain coming off like noise on occasion. Most of the issues with the look of the picture have to do with the source materials themselves. The film has been cleaned up exhaustively, presenting very few marks or blemishes. There is some flickering throughout the film but it’s not distracting. Contrast is decent and grey levels are clean and distinct, though blacks never come off truly black.

In all it was a nice transfer if not surprising or spectacular. It’s about what I expected.

7/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Criterion’s disc presents an average Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track. There’s some noise in the background but it’s faint and sound quality is strong enough, presenting clear dialogue, if a touch edgy.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This is a modest little release from Criterion with a couple supplements, though unfortunately nothing particularly special.

First is Tomorrow, Yesterday, and Today, a 20-minute interview with director Peter Bodanovich. In the interview he talks about his first experience with the film and then goes over the little nuances and touches found throughout the film. He briefly covers McCarey’s career from beginning to end. Bogdanovich also manages to yet again remind everyone he was friends with Orson Welles, commenting that Welles called the film “the saddest film ever made!” and then managing to throw in another almost unrelated reference to Welles closer to the end. It’s an okay piece, nothing of note, though it does have some interesting photos, including photos of the make-up being applied to the film’s two stars.

And then we get a 20-minute interview with Gary Giddins which proves a touch better. While he covers some of the same ground as Bogdanovich he concentrates more on the social and political aspects of the film and of McCarey’s career as whole, the film having been made when Social Security was the talk of the time (in the same way as health care is now he mentions.) He talks a bit about the McCarthy hearings and how McCarey’s more conservative views may have hurt him, though does point out that McCarey still never “named names” though may have still convinced the everyone involved that “weeding out the commies” was necessary. Of the two interviews found on here this is probably the better and more interesting one.

The release does come with a rather thick booklet, proving to be the best aspect of this set. The booklet includes a great essay by Tag Gallagher that is reminiscent of one of his video essays, using screen captures to back up some of his comments on the framing and cutting in the film. There’s also a charming piece by director Bertrand Tavernier about McCarey and Make Way for Tomorrow and then it concludes with another nice piece by Robin Wood which breaks down the final 30-minutes. The booklet proves to be the best thing about this release and is worth going through.

Still, while the booklet is great and the Giddins interview is good it still feels like a fairly unsatisfying selection of supplements.

5/10

CLOSING

It’s not one of Criterion’s stronger DVDs containing a small number of supplements but it at least has a decent presentation for the film. For those fond of the film it comes with a mild recommendation.


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