You Can't Take It With You (1938) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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You Can't Take It With You (1938)
Alice Sycamore has to introduce the family of her fiance, Tony Kirby, to her own family. The Kirby's are wealthy, stuffy family of great self- importance, while the Sycamore's are a collection of good-hearted lunatics. When the two families come together, lifestyle and philosophy collide head-on.
Jean Arthur ... Alice Sycamore
Lionel Barrymore ... Grandpa Martin Vanderhof
James Stewart ... Tony Kirby
Edward Arnold ... Anthony P. Kirby
Mischa Auer ... Boris Kolenkhov
Ann Miller ... Essie Carmichael
Spring Byington ... Penny Sycamore
Samuel S. Hinds ... Paul Sycamore
Donald Meek ... Poppins
H.B. Warner ... Ramsey
Halliwell Hobbes ... DePinna
Dub Taylor ... Ed Carmichael
Mary Forbes ... Mrs. Anthony P. Kirby
One message. "Nothing is worth doing if you can't enjoy it, and when it's over- you can't take it with you!"
Do any of Capra's works actually speak 'that' one particular message? Perhaps the closest to the above is "It Happened One Night". "Lost Horizon" is about rediscovery and peace of mind. "Mr Smith" is politically and small town oriented and "Mr Deeds" deals with the same except without some political yawn. George Bailey should have had a better dosage of the "You Can't Take it With You" policy in "It's a Wonderful Life".
Here is a play that exercises Frank Capra's famous adage with all humour already built in. Why shouldn't it work?
The stage version was a phenomenal success, written superbly by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. If their story is slightly lacking, look no further than the delightful cast of characters. Mr Poppins, toy and mask maker. Alice's Father who meddles with fireworks. Essie the ballerina, Penny the playwright and the wonderful Russian ballet teacher. The uptight Kirby banking corporation. Then there's the "Mr Smith" duo, Tony (Jimmy Stewart) and Alice (Jean Arthur).
The stand out performer here, is naturally the lovable Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa Vanderfhoff. Although the first film in which the damaging effects of his arthritis began to show, Capra had his leg put in a cast and had him move around on crutches. He relishes his performance.
I have heard of complaints which discuss the fact this film fails to address corruption and greed in a similar manner to "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" which successfully played its part going against the American capital. Once again, Capra emphasises his favourite theme of the little guy up against the world and succeeds, but "You Can't Take it With You" basically does not even make a mild attempt to criticise the American system of government, past or present, even though I know very little about it.
On different levels, look at this film in the light of discussing heavier issues, as the aforementioned greed and corruption. I just don't think Mr Capra would have liked it as much for one of his works to be remembered like that, especially with the basic message staring at us right in the face.
Nevertheless, it is another of Capra's life saving feel good movies. All it is encouraging us to do is to have a little fun.
Take a large free-spirited family without visible means of support. Add a large mean-spirited tycoon intent on taking over their neighborhood. Mix in a romance between their daughter & his son. Sprinkle with zaniness & bake for two hours. Enjoy while hot.
This is one of those big comedy productions with a huge cast that only someone like Frank Capra could have pulled off. That he did so, winning the 1938 Best Picture Oscar, is immensely to his credit.
Hobbling on the crutches that signaled the crippling arthritis that would soon confine him to a wheelchair, Lionel Barrymore is the focal point of the film as the grandfather of a wacky clan that believes in doing whatever makes them happy. So they dance, make fireworks, bake candy, paint, write novels, and construct toys with equal joy - laughing through the Depression with much love & great contentment. Jean Arthur, James Stewart & Edward Arnold co-star, with a mammoth cast of supporting players.
This is the movie for viewers who want to feel warm & safe & cuddled & protected.
I wouldn't exactly call YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (YCTIWY) Capra's forgotten movie--after all, it *did* win the Best Picture Oscar in its year. And I *have* heard of this film by word of mouth previously, though perhaps not as frequently or with as much ubiquity as some of Capra's other films. Compared to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, for example, YCTIWY distinctly has the status of a 'minor classic'. I don't believe this is deserved, even if themes and (co-)stars are shared between these movies: YCTIWY should definitely be far better known and remembered than it actually is.
First of all, the story-telling is flawless. It very cleverly sets up the two very different families, the Vanderhof/Sycamores (an offbeat family trading most importantly in happiness) and the Kirbys (a stiff up tight banking family trading mostly in weapons). To complete the biggest deal of his career, Anthony Kirby Sr (Edward Arnold) must buy up the last house in a neighbourhood, and of course, this house belongs to Martin Vanderhof (a delightful Lionel Barrymore). The movie pleasantly surprised me in *not* having young Tony Kirby (James Stewart) be assigned to get Vanderhof to sell his house and thereby falling in love with Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) and her zany family. Rather, he was in love with her to begin with, and loved her regardless of what he thought of her family. (Though it would be impossible to hate any of them, I feel!) The story really is simple: Tony loves Alice no matter what, and doesn't want her or her family to put on a show to impress his own family. When he surprises her by turning up a day early for a dinner engagement, the Kirbys meet the Vanderhof/Sycamores for who they truly are, wind up in jail, and along the way, learn a little bit about being real human beings.
There are several delightful scenes in the film as well, all beautifully filmed and connected such that the story is a coherent whole. I'm especially partial to practically any scene with James Stewart wooing Jean Arthur (those two, quite seriously, make the cutest couple imaginable)--I love it when he sort of proposes to her. "Scratch hard enough and you'll find a proposal." Or that lovely intimate scene in the park where he directs her to a seat like he would at the ballet, or when they start dancing with the neighbourhood children. The scene in the restaurant was also amusing, when Tony kept warning Alice that there was a scream on the way, building it up so perfectly that *she* wound up screaming before he did. It's hard to beat the scene in night court too, when Capra foreshadows pretty much the exact same scene and sentiment in the forthcoming IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, when all of Vanderhof's friends chip in to pay off his fine. It's sweet, it's real, and it's something you really do wish could still happen in this world. Even the littlest things like Grandpa Vanderhof's dinnertime prayers are enough to remind the viewer of what a world could be like if we kept our values simple, our wants satisfied, and ourselves happy.
Second of all, the acting is superlative. How could it *not* be, with a cast like this? Evidently I was completely charmed by James Stewart and Jean Arthur, who are both incredibly believable both as real people and movie stars, and who together make Tony and Alice an utterly credible, true-to-life couple. Edward Arnold was great as the stuffed shirt Anthony Kirby Sr too--his eventual 'thawing' was something that could easily have been played in too exaggerated a fashion, but both the actor and director, I suspect, are too good to have allowed that to happen. I also had great fun watching Ann Miller in her secondary role as Essie Sycamore, Alice's dancing sister. I sincerely hope that every person making this film had just as much fun as I did watching it, because the whole secondary cast was excellent, and I loved all the characters we were introduced to, particularly the entire Sycamore family with their attendant friends (the ex-iceman DePinna, or the toymaker Poppins) and even their servants Rheba and Donald, who were treated almost as much as part of the family as could be expected at that time. But my greatest praise would have to be reserved for Lionel Barrymore as Martin Vanderhof--a sweeter, lovelier old man you just couldn't imagine, and a complete change from his much-better-known Mr. Potter in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. He really does make Grandpa Vanderhof very much a real person, from his reminiscences about Grandma Vanderhof, to his messing around with the IRS agent, to his harmonica-playing and evident love of life and people.
I really could not say enough good things about this movie (which I prefer to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE). It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, and quite frankly, it'll make you glad to be alive. Not many movies can do that. And it's most certainly true that you can't take your money with you... but what you *can* do is take this movie and its message to heart. 10/10, without a doubt.
* Columbia paid $200,000 for the film rights to the play.
* Frank Capra first became aware of the play when he caught a performance of it when he was in New York in 1937 for the premiere of Lost Horizon (1937). He tried to persuade Columbia boss Harry Cohn to buy the rights but Cohn refused, partly because he baulked at the prospect of shelling out what he considered to be the exorbitant sum of $200,000 for the rights, but mainly because he was still smarting from the lost battles he'd had with Capra over the final edit of Lost Horizon (1937). Capra too was out of sorts with Cohn as he objected strongly to the Columbia boss trying to market the Jean Arthur film If You Could Only Cook (1935) in Britain as one of his own. A court case ensued, only being resolved in November 1937, with the proviso that Columbia buy the rights to the play and assign the project to Capra.
* The first James Stewart and Frank Capra collaboration.
* A 1938 feature film usually ran to 8,000 feet of film. Frank Capra shot 329,000 feet for this one.
* Whereas the play had only 19 characters, there are 153 parts in the film.
* Lionel Barrymore would receive injections every hour to help relieve the pain of his arthritis.
* Shooting began in late April 1938 and took just under 2 months. The cost came in at one and a half million dollars.
* The play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and was still running on Broadway when the film opened.
* Frank Capra was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1938 and was at the forefront of a union dispute amongst producers and directors that was threatening to disrupt that year's Oscar ceremony. Fortunately it was resolved in time for the President to walk off with 2 more Oscars to add to his collection.
* Shortly before filming began, Lionel Barrymore lost the use of his legs to crippling arthritis and a hip injury. To accommodate him, the script was altered so that his character had a broken leg, and Barrymore did the film on crutches.
* Debut of Dub Taylor.
* Frank Capra cast James Stewart based on his performance in Navy Blue and Gold (1937).