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Make Way for Movies for Grown-Ups

You won’t be surprised to learn that the movie was a flop. Great Depression era audiences understandably preferred escapist “screwball comedies.” Ironically, McCarey had just delivered them one of the all-time best of that genre, The Awful Truth, when he came out with Make Way for Tomorrow later that year. Its failure cost him his studio contract. Talk about "ending badly."

However, the movie was always beloved by cinephiles, despite being rarely screened or broadcast. Make Way for Tomorrow went on to inspire Tokyo Story (1953), which some consider the greatest Japanese film, and which regularly ranks among one of the top ten or twenty movies of all time.

Thanks to Criterion and Turner Classic Movies, Make Way for Tomorrow is finally finding an audience.

In the very spirit of the movie itself, however, that fact isn’t necessarily heartwarming news.

Today, as it has for over two years, my 86-year-old mother in law’s squeaky recliner sits in the living room of our not-very-big condo, next to our sleek black leather sofa, surrounded by our small but eclectic collection of original fine art.

One evening, I noticed that she was up much later than usual. I didn’t recognize the black and white movie she was raptly watching on TV, so I used the remote to get the title from the onscreen TCM listing.

As a lifelong film buff, I can name plenty of rare movies I know about but have never seen. But the title Make Way for Tomorrow, I’m embarrassed to say, didn’t ring a bell.

As I researched the movie on the web that night, on the computer in the next room, my blood ran cold.

In fact, I experienced a sort of "The killer's calls are coming from inside the house!!" moment.

Because Make Way for Tomorrow was all about my – our – living arrangement.

One that, shall we say, wasn't my idea. And which shows no sign of changing in the near future.

I wish I could tell you that my discovery of Make Way for Tomorrow made me a more patient and understanding daughter in law.

But all it changed in our house is:

We bought me my own TV.