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Monday, November 22, 2010

You Can't take it with you (released in 1938) - starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and directed by Frank Capra

This movie was directed by Frank Capra who adapted it from the Pulitzer prize winning Broadway show by Kaufman and Hart. It stars the legendary James Stewart and Jean Arthur in the title roles. It also starred Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold and Spring Byington. Lionel Barrymore was suffering from arthritis and acts in crutches for the entire movie.
Tony Kirby is the heir of a vast business empire whose father Arnold.P.Kirby is a arms dealer and a real estate magnet. Kirby Sr has one ambition, which is build a big ammunition plant and is busy buying vast tracts of land to seal the deal. But one thorn in the flesh is Martin Vanderhoff who refuses to sell him homestead because it is filled with memories. Kirby offers him four times the money but Vanderhoff says no as family and memories are more important than money even during the great depression.
The Vanderhoff's are the most eccentric, screwball family with a devil may care attitude. They never care for money, success or have any ambition. Grandpa's daughter Penny aims to be a writer with little talent and has a small kitten as a paperweight.

Granddaughter Essie has fantasies of becoming a ballerina even as her, Russian teacher exclaims, 'She stinks!' -- and Essie's oafish husband Ed (Dub Taylor) plays the xylophone while wearing his old football jersey. There are other bohemian characters roaming around the house making up explosions along with a mad butler and a maid. To cap it up is Grandpa Vanderhoff who slides down the banisters and ends up breaking leg. Well that is to prove that he is a fun guy who values family fun. The one sweet normal girl is Alice Sycamore who works as a secretary in Tony Kirby's office.
Alice and Tony predictably fall for each other and plan to get hitched. But the perennial hitch of family sanction comes in the way. Anthony Kirby and his snobbish wife are alarmed at Tony's choice but try to humor him by agreeing to meet the girls family. Alice plans a grand dinner and her family agrees to behave. But a wrong date and the wrong meeting makes the introduction explosive as the blue blooded Kirby's are exposed to the bohemian chic of the Vanderhoff's'. Then all goes downhill and the engagement goes in flames.
But love does triumph in the movies changing the life of the Kirby's forever. Kirby's learn to have fun and Vanderhoff triumph as a paragon of virtue. The whole cliché ending of “money can never buy love” happens and everybody lives happily ever after by being poor. This movie had seven academy award nomination wining two -the best picture and the best director trophy. This was the second Oscar for Frank Capra in five years. The box office success was also phenomenal and is treated as one of the nicest romantic comedies. Well if you like romance and enjoy poor vs rich dramas, this one is for you.

You Can't take it with you (released in 1938) - starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and directed by Frank Capra

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