Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 American screwball comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in her first featured role. Based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland, which appeared in serial form in The American Magazine, the screenplay was written by Robert Riskin in his fifth collaboration with Frank Capra.
This was the seventh of 12 films on which Capra collaborated with screenwriter Robert Riskin, who played a key role in the development of Capra's directorial style. Their other collaborations included It Happened One Night (1934), for which Capra won Best Director and Riskin won Best Screenplay; You Can't Take It With You (1938), and Meet John Doe (1941).
The film was generally treated as likable fare by critics and audiences alike. Noted reviewer Graham Greene was effusive that this was Capra's finest film to date, describing Capra's treatment as "a kinship with his audience, a sense of common life, a morality..." Capra won his second Academy Award for Directing in 1936 for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, while Cooper received the first of his five nominations for Best Actor. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Robert Riskin), and Best Sound Recording (John P. Livadary). At the end of the year, the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review named "Mr. Deeds" the "Best Picture of 1936."