Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Good Sam” (1948):
We’ve all heard that we should live by the Golden Rule. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12). It is also called the Law of Reciprocity. It is a basic precept in all the major religions. Then again we’ve also heard the Oscar Wilde quote, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Leo McCarey’s comedy “Good Sam” takes those two seemingly contradictory statements on.
Sam Clayton (Gary Cooper) is a happily married man with three kids. His wife, Lu (Ann Sheridan), wants a home. Unfortunately Sam keeps helping people and that help ends up being expensive, so expensive that it costs them their down payment.
Sam lends the neighbors his car. He should have given the husband, the driver in the family, an eye test first.
Sam contacts the mechanic to come and fix the neighbor’s car. Sam ends up paying the bill.
The mechanic shows up with his wife at Sam’s door. Sam invites them in for dinner. They hadn’t eaten.
Sam lets his brother-in-law stay for two weeks. Sam’s hospitality is so good the brother-in-law is still living with them six months later.
One of his employees is about to commit suicide because the married man she was dating ditched her. You guessed it. She ends up at Sam’s house.
Sam’s previous neighbor has a wife who is pregnant. The man wants to buy a gas station. He is broke and can’t borrow the money from the bank. Sam loans him the five thousand dollars he has in savings.
Lu does want that house. Out of desperation, she goes to see her minister. The minister senses that Sam needs to exercise moderation. He discusses keeping the wife happy. Sam thinks the minister is having marriage problems.
Jesus cautioned about serving two masters. Sam must choose between his good deeds or his wife. Either way it looks like a lose-lose proposition for Sam.