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Looking Forward

Looking Forward(1933)

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teaser Looking Forward (1933)

Based on the C.L. Anthony play Service which had opened in London on October 12, 1932 and with a title taken from President Franklin Roosevelt's book, Looking Forward (1933) is a Depression-era tale of a man (played by Lionel Barrymore) who is laid off from his job at a store where he had worked for 40 years; a story that hits close to home in these troubled economic times.

Production began on the film in late February 1933 at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under the auspices of Cosmopolitan Productions, W.R. Hearst's production company created for Marion Davies at the MGM lot. The working titles of the film were Service, Yesterday's Rich and The New Deal, no doubt to capitalize on the recent election of Roosevelt. The final title Looking Forward is further connected to the President by the inclusion of a quote from the book in the foreword that appears onscreen, "We need enthusiasm, imagination and ability to face fact we need the courage of the young."

The storyline was a typical 1930s morality tale: Gabriel Service (Lewis Stone), a wealthy store owner, has fallen on hard times and is forced to sell the store founded by his grandfather to meet the extravagant spending of his family. Longtime employee Benton, now unemployed, creates a successful pastry business for himself. When he learns the store is to be sold, Benton takes some of his pies to the local cemetery to intercept Service on his walk home to try to convince him not to sell. All ends happily as only an MGM film could.

Variety noted the timeliness of the production, "This unassuming human exposition of present-day economic relationships cant help but find a parallel in the existence of almost every picture-house patron. [] A well-nigh flawless cast does handily by every aspect of the cinematurgy. Barrymore and Stone are tops in the male assignments. Benita Hume as the disloyal stepmother and Elizabeth Allan and Phillips Holmes as the youngsters, handle the other principal assignments well. Colin Clive is also prominent and effective."

Producer: Clarence Brown
Director: Clarence Brown
Screenplay: Bess Meredyth; H.M. Harwood; Dodie Smith (play, as C.L. Anthony)
Cinematography: Oliver T. Marsh
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: William Axt (uncredited)
Film Editing: Hugh Wynn
Cast: Lionel Barrymore (Tim Benton), Lewis Stone (Gabriel Service, Sr.), Benita Hume (Mrs. Isobel Service), Elizabeth Allan (Caroline Service), Phillips Holmes (Michael Service), Colin Clive (Geoffrey Fielding), Alec B. Francis (Mr. Birkenshaw), Doris Lloyd (Mrs. Lil Benton), Halliwell Hobbes (Mr. James Felton), Douglas Walton (Willie Benton), Viva Tattersall (Miss Elsie Benton), Lawrence Grant (Philip Bendicott), George K. Arthur (Mr. Tressitt - Salesman).
BW-82m.

by Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
The American Film Institute Catalog
Variety Film Review, April 28, 1933
The Internet Movie Database

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