books you should read : Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
it’s about : a pilot crashes in the Sahara desert. There he meets a young boy who asks him to draw a sheep. As time goes by, he learns more and more about the melancholy world of this little prince from another planet, and the journey that brought him on earth.
you should read it because : it’s beautiful. It’s a fairy tale, and a poem, one of these books that make you sad and happy at the same time, and a book you don’t forget. I believe that when you read it, feel it, understand it, it changes you, and all things get somehow more intense, more beautiful. Also if you can, do yourself a favour and read it in French.
“Où sont les hommes ?” reprit enfin le petit prince. “On est un peu seul dans le désert …” “On est seul aussi chez les hommes,” dit le serpent.
(“Where are the men ?” said the little prince. “The desert is a bit lonely …” “It’s lonely among men too,” said the snake.)
Mr Deeds is Capra’s finest film, and that means it is a comedy quite unmatched on the screen. For Capra has what Lubitsch, the witty playboy, has not; a sense of responsibility, and what Clair, whimsical, poetical, a little precious and à la mode, has not, a kinship with his audience, a sense of common life, of morality: he has what even Chaplin has not, complete mastery of his medium. Like Lang, he hears all the time just as clearly as he sees and just as selectively. I do not think anyone can watch Mr Deeds for long without being aware of a technician as great as Lang employed on a theme which profoundly moves him: the theme of goodness and simplicity manhandled in a deeply selfish and brutal world. That was the theme of Fury too, but Capra is more fortunate than Lang. Lang expresses the theme in terms of terror, and terror on the screen has always - alas! to be tempered to the shorn lamb; Capra expresses it in terms of pity and ironic tenderness, and no magnate feels the need to cramp his style or later his conclusion.
…there is this difference between Lang and Capra: Lang’s happy ending was imposed on him, we did not believe in it; Capra’s is natural and unforced. He believes in the possibility of happiness; he believes, in spite of the controlling racketeers, in human nature. Goodness, simplicity, disinterestedness: these in his hands become fighting qualities. Deeds sees through opera directors, fashionable intellectuals, solicitors, psychologists…only for a few minutes in the courtroom does he lose heart and refuse to defend himself: he is never a helpless victim and he comes back into the ring with folk humour and folk shrewdness to rout his enemies for the sake of the men they have ruined.
The picture glows with that humour and shrewdness, just as Lang’s curdles with his horror and disgust; it is funny, most of the time, as Fury was terrifying. It is not a question of truth or falsehood: two directors of genius have made pictures with curiously similar themes which present a conviction, a settled attitude towards life as it is lived. The pessimist makes a tragedy, the optimist makes a comedy. And Capra, as well as Lang, is supported by a perfect cast. Every minor part, however few the lines, is completely rendered, and Mr Gary Cooper’s subtle and pliable performance must be something of which other directors have only dreamed.
Graham Greene reviewing Mr Deeds Goes To Town for The Spectator, 28th August 1936
I wanna watch this
Richie: I have to tell you something…
Margot: What’s that?
Richie: I love you.
Margot: I love you, too.