If you're up for a double feature movie rental with a bit of a theme to it, I've got an idea for you. The first one comes from director Frank Capra, the man who gave us IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It's from the 1930s, during the Great Depression here in the U.S., and that financial hardship is reflected in this comedy/drama. It stars Gary Cooper and the marvelous actress who was the muse to James L. Brooks when he wrote the role Holly Hunter played in BROADCAST NEWS. Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur star in 1936's MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN.
In the 1956 drama, GIANT, actor James Dean did a piece of business looping a small rope while a rich rival tries to screw him out of some ranch property he owns. Property that's way more valuable than the lowly ranch hand realizes. A number of film critics wrote about young Dean's acting brilliance doing that casual rope bit in that office scene. Well, those critics -- all men -- missed that Jean Arthur went there before James Dean did. Notice her first scene in the movie as she listens to her newspaper boss give orders.
Pair that classic with a Ron Howard film from 2005. Howard directed CINDERELLA MAN starring Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger. Based on a true story, the action is set in the 1930s...just like Capra's tale about a "Cinderella Man" in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN. Russell Crowe, in one of best American screen performances, plays a working class family man hit very hard by the Great Depression. He could be like the poor guy with the gun in Capra's film.
Gould presents Braddock with one more chance to box. Mrs. Braddock (Zellweger) doesn't want him to box and thinks Gould is just out to make a buck. She's wrong. Braddock could win money to feed his family again. With Gould's help, he has a shot at the heavyweight championship. His opponent is the formidable and cocky champ, Max Baer. A top sportswriter dubs Braddock "The Cinderella Man."
I like Renee Zellweger. But in CINDERELLA MAN, I think I would've gone with a Naomi Watts or Julianne Moore -- someone who could play the wife with a touch more kitchen sink gravity
Many critics had high praise for this Ron Howard movie. But the public just wouldn't go see it. The same thing happened with Ron Howard's 2013 film, RUSH. In both cases, moviegoers missed very good films with excellent performances. Paul Giamatti got a very well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for CINDERELLA MAN. Ron Howard previously directed Russell Crowe in A BEAUTIFUL MIND, a film that took home Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.
There you have it. I hope you enjoy the CINDERELLA MAN double feature.