Make Way for Tomorrow

Synopsis: At a family reunion, the Cooper clan find that their parents' home is being foreclosed. "Temporarily," Ma moves in with son George's family, Pa with daughter Cora. But the parents are like sand in the gears of their middle-aged children's well regulated households. Can the old folks take matters into their own hands?
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Leo McCarey
Production: Paramount Pictures
  2 wins.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min


Gee, it's good to see you!

Hey, you'll catch your death of cold.

Go on, get in there.

- Gosh, you're looking well, Ma.

- Oh, so are you, George.

Well, I got a little cold, but I'm all right.

I think you look better

than you did five or six months ago.

You looked a little peaked then,

I thought.

- I see the others got here before me.

- Yes. Your pa's waitin' for you, though.

What do you mean, Ma?

Say, what is this gathering of the clan?

- Well, I'd rather Pa told you.

- Hm-hm.

- How's Anita and the baby?

- Oh, they're just fine.

Only Rhoda isn't a baby any more.

She's thinking of going to college.

Oh! Oh, Pa, here's George.

Well, there's a familiar sight,

Pa in the same old chair.

- Hello, George.

- Don't get up, don't get up.

Gee, it's good to see you, Pa.

Gosh, I haven't seen you since...

Well, it's been too long, anyway.

I don't know. We plan, we plan...

- Hello, Nellie.

- Hello, George.

As for you, you know,

I don't know when I saw you last.

Oh, I forgot. I can't kiss you, Cora.

I got a nasty little cold.

I shouldn't have kissed you either.

M is for the million things

She gave me.

O means only that she's growing old.

Oh, yes, T is for the tears

She shed to save me

H is for her heart of purest gold...

Hello, folks.

E is for her eyes with love light shining

R means right, and right she'll always be

Always be

Put them all together

They spell Mother

A word that means the world to...


Ba-dam-dam, bang-bang!

- Mother.

- Robert.

- Here you are, Mother.

- No, dear.

That don't go

with standing over a hot stove.

OK, it'll just be two for me.

How about you, George?

You're still the best-looking one

in the family, Robert.

Yeah? The day I was born,

Pop took one look at me and said,

"That did it. No more Coopers!"


Here you are, Nellie.

Oh! I got somethin' on you, Nellie.

- Here ya are, Pa.

- Thanks.

Try that on your ulcer.

Wait a minute, now. Nobody drink.

I always make it a point

to drink to somethin'.

Let's see. Now, let me think.

Don't think too hard, Robert.

You might hurt yourself.

- Oh...

- Why, Pa!

Let's see now, uh...

Here's to our house,

through sunshine or showers,

be it ever so humble, by golly, it's ours.

- Good, huh, Pop?

- Yeah.

Ah, it's all right.

Only the last line don't make sense.

- Does it, Ma?

- No.

- You see, the house...

- Don't tell 'em now, Bark.

- Wait till after dinner.

- What is it?

Why not now?

That's why we got 'em down here.

You see, the house isn't ours any more.

- The bank is taking it over.

- The bank?

- You mean you've lost it?

- Oh, that's awful!

- Bank? Well, there's a bank for you!

- What happened, Father?

Well, as you know,

I haven't been working for, uh...

Well, it's almost four years now.

- That's right, ain't it, Ma? Four years?

- Four years, 5th June, Pa.

And with everything going out

and nothing coming in,

I couldn't keep up the payments.

So long as I never sent them anything,

they sent for me.

The head of the bank, Randy Dunlap,

asked me to drop in to his house

for a little chat.

You remember him? Randy Dunlap?

He used to keep company with your mother

before I cut him out.


So, I dropped in

and he asked me to sit down.

George, do you know what he was wearing?

A kimono.

- No!

- Yeah.

Oh, now, Bark.

It must have been a dressing gown.

I know a dressing gown when I see it.

It was a kimono, George.

Well, he asked me to sit down.

Then he offered me a cigar.

- Do dressing gowns have... flowers on 'em?

- Oh, Bark!

- Never mind that, Father. What did he say?

- Oh, he was nice enough.

He put his arm around me and he said,

"Bark, I hate to have to do this to you. "

But deep down in his heart,

I think he was saying, "Goody. "

Oh, now, Bark. He did say that

we could take our time about moving out.

Yeah, he did.

- How much time did he give you, Father?

- Six months.

Oh! Oh, well, then,

there's no immediate rush.

When are the six months up?


But... but why didn't you tell us sooner?

Well, your father and I were hoping

that something would turn up

and we wouldn't have to tell you at all.

Tuesday. Doesn't give us much time, does it?

Well, this house has been too big

for your mother to take care of anyway.

Yeah, Father, but what I mean is,

if we'd known sooner,

we could have all chipped in

and found you a little place somewhere.

Or... I know Nellie will tell you

Harvey's business never was worse.

That's right. You'd be surprised

if you knew how bad things are.

Oh, sure. Who gave you that dress,

the Salvation Army?

And Cora will tell you

that if Bill doesn't get a job soon,

she'll have to go to work herself.

And, uh... Yeah.

Well, I can't do it alone.

And there's no point in writing to Addie,

way out there in California.

No, she's never even sent us an orange.

And in as much as Anita and I

are planning to send Rhoda to college,

now, the only thing I can suggest

is that you come to live with one of us

until we get ourselves straightened out.

No, your father and I

were talking about that, and we...

I know what you're thinking about, Mother,

but you're more than welcome

with any one of us.

Now, Nellie, after all,

there's only you and Harvey.

Yes, but what about Harvey?

- Oh, we wouldn't want to ask Harvey.

- Oh, no, we wouldn't ask Harvey.

No, we asked Harvey to marry Nellie. We

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Viña Delmar

Viña Delmar (January 29, 1903 – January 19, 1990) was an American short story writer, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who worked from the 1920s to the 1970s. She rose to fame in the late 1920s with the publication of her risqué novel, Bad Girl, which became a bestseller in 1928. Delmar also wrote the screenplay to the screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, for which she received an Academy Award nomination in 1937. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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1 Comment
  • Svetlana Vegeley
    Svetlana Vegeley
    Dear Sir or Madam,
    Omsk State Drama Theatre from Russia is appealing to you. We would like to stage a play «Make Way for Tomorrow» by Viña Delmar.  We ask you to give the theater permission to stage this work and inform us about the author's financial conditions. 
    We hope for fruitful cooperation.
    With best regards,
    Svetlana Vegeley
    Head of Literary Department
    LikeReply3 years ago


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"Make Way for Tomorrow" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024. <>.

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