powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
A Gentleman Goes to Town and Opera Hat were the working titles of this film. Opera Hat was inserted into the 1934-35 production schedule by Columbia when Lost Horizon, which Capra had intended to make directly after Broadway Bill, was delayed due to casting difficulties. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was itself delayed when Paramount did not make Gary Cooper available for several months. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Ned Sparks was set for an unspecified comedy lead, and Columbia negotiated with Walter Wanger to borrow Peggy Conklin for an unspecified leading role, but it has not been determined why they did not participate in the finished picture. Hollywood Reporter production charts list the following additional actors, whose inclusion in the final film has not been verified: Gennaro Curci, Si Jenks, Marjorie Gateson and Henry Otho. This was opera singer Margaret Matzenaur's first film and Cooper's first film for Columbia. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town received an Academy Award for Best Director, and was nominated for Best Picture, Actor (Cooper's first nomination), Writer and Sound Recording. It was also voted best picture by New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review and was named one of the ten best films of the year by the Film Daily Poll of Critics. According to a Motion Picture Herald news item, the film was banned in Germany "on the ground that non-Aryan actors had participated" in the production. On February 1, 1937, Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur performed a radio version of the film for Lux Radio Theater. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Columbia and Capra intended to make a sequel to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, starring Cooper and Jean Arthur, entitled Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington, based on the story "The Gentleman from Wyoming" (alternately called "The Gentleman from Montana" by both contemporary and modern sources) by Lewis Foster. This story was instead turned into the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, directed by Capra and starring Arthur and James Stewart. Most contemporary and modern sources list H. B. Warner's character as Judge Walker, but in the film he is called Judge May. Modern sources also credit Charles Wilson with the role of the court clerk, but Gladden James is credited with the role on the CBCS, while Charles Wilson is listed as a guard. In a modern interview, Edward Bernds, the sound engineer, states that the opening scenes of Mandrake Falls were shot on the Twentieth Century-Fox lot's New England Street set, while in his autobiography, photographer Joseph Walker describes the Columbia Ranch in Burbank, CA, where Deed's mansion was built and filmed. While modern sources list many so-called "remakes" of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, there have been only two official remakes, employing the same character and basic plot. The first was an ABC television series entitled Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, starring Monte Markham in the Cooper role, which ran from September 26, 1969 to January 16, 1970. The second was the 2002 film Mr. Deeds, directed by Steven Brill and starring Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder.