The Grannie

In 1937, when Leo McCarey won the Oscar for Best Director for the comedy “The Awful Truth,” he said, “Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture.” McCarey preferred “Make Way For Tommorow,” for which he had also been nominated. It has been called “the most depressing movie ever made,” but I had never heard of it until alerted by The Amazing Milo’s indispensible monthly guide to TCM’s showings

Good film. Tears await. But my first YOICKS! moment came when the ill-fated Beulah Bondi, as the sweet, frail, white-haired, tottering grandmother who has lost her home, says, “Well, I’m 70…” Seventy! I thought — and I’m 72!!!

Bondi was always playing grandmothers. She played Bobby Driscoll’s a decade later in “So Dear to My Heart,” one of my favorites before I was ten and started going to moview on my own. (“The Monty Stratton Story” was its only rival. Boy, I must have been a sucker for lumpy throats.)

Before MWFT had gone much further, I’d Wikipedia-ed her. Bondi was forty-eight in 1937. She lived another 44 years, making films most of the way and, no doubt, never getting cast much younger. She never married; no soignificant others are noted; and one hopes the archtype she was selected to represent for America amused her slightly.