You Can't Take It With You

You Can't Take It With You

DVD - 2008
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In the amidst of a love affair two families rediscover the simply joys of life. Best Director-Frank Capra and Best Picture.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, [2008]
Edition: Fullscreen edition
ISBN: 9781435937949
1435937945
Branch Call Number: DVD YOU
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (approximately 126 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in

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LiztheLibrarian Feb 14, 2018

A great film adaptation of the play by the same name...you really can't take it with you!


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derekshultz
Nov 24, 2018

I really enjoyed this delightful, family-friendly romp. The characters were fun, the situations were delightful, and there was some nice class commentary in the jail and courtroom scenes. That being said, I found there was some weird dissonance in some of its messages.

For example, the patriarchal character, Grandpa, seemed to be the embodiment of several American ideals, but his personal living situation seemed a lot more radical than the Americans would typically endorse. Maybe Grandpa's house is supposed to represent America as a country, where people can come to freely do what they want, rather than be oppressed by elites. But in it's translation to the personal domain, it portrayed a group of people living communally, sharing resources and providing for each other (a little socialistic for our libertarian, anti-"ism" Grandpa). Despite his practice of inviting strangers to abandon their livelihoods and come to be provided for at his house, it is a little puzzling that Grandpa is firmly against income taxes. His anti-military rationalizations were commendable, but with the New Deal and the Great Depression a recent memory at the time, our communal Grandpa doesn't seem to consider how taxes may be a more effective way of providing for others than inviting people you bump into to come live with you (though that isn't completely ineffective for those who can afford to do so).

Grandpa's rejection of "ism"s seemed to be a little anti-intellectualist and hypocritical, especially coming from someone who spends his time telling people how to live their lives and advocating a bizarre mix of libertarianism, hedonism, and communism.

The economic status of Grandpa's "family" group was confusing. They lived in a large house, could afford food, constant dance lessons, instruments, fireworks chemicals, candy-making supplies and... servants? (I couldn't tell if the black people in the house were paid servants or members of the communal household who just liked to cook and clean for everyone else. It seemed a little racialized but, hey, they treated them like humans and seemed to listen to them and value them in 1930s America, so I'll leave that one alone.) Most of the members of the household didn't seem to work: as far as I could tell, Alice works at the Kirby's company, the dancer's husband had a job, and Grandpa occasionally appraised stamps. It seemed like they were very well-off despite this, and felt no economic need to sell their house to the Kirbys for far more than it was worth. In spite of all this, at a crucial part in the movie, Grandpa's family accepts money from a large group of their considerably worse-off friends and neighbours (who rent and are being forced out of their buildings). Plus, their apparent wealth seems to slightly undercut some of the class commentary between the Kirbys and Grandpa's group.

(Disclaimer for this part: I don't know much about the context of pre-WWII America and public sentiments.) In the context 1938 America, prior to America's involvement in WWII, the anti-military, libertarian protagonist Grandpa advocating for playing one's harmonica and waiting for troubles to resolve themselves smacked a little of American isolationism. While I am typically a pacifist, I found it a little troubling that this Oscar-best-picture-winning film from the time seemed to be implying that Nazi Germany was something to ignore until it resolved itself.

It also seemed strange for the film to advocate both welcoming others to be provided for in your home and waiting for problems to resolve themselves. I'm not sure if it was advocating philanthropy or recommending against it because problems can supposedly work themselves out.

Anyway, I ultimately did like the film. The entire subplot with the man who made the rabbit toy was adorable, the romance was passable, and it was littered with fun situations and gags. It's a lot of fun, as long as you don't think too much about it.

j
JuanAntonioSamaraj
Mar 05, 2018

Some nice social commentary with some fairly corny humor and characters, fairly enjoyable.

LiztheLibrarian Feb 14, 2018

A great film adaptation of the play by the same name...you really can't take it with you!

v
VV17
Jan 25, 2016

This is a wonderful family film! The plot is fun and meaningful. Also, all the actors do a splendid job bringing the story to life, and there will be many familiar faces from "It's a Wonderful Life." This is a must watch!

n
Nursebob
Oct 31, 2015

Frank Capra pours on the sugar in this post-depression fairy tale about an evil capitalist who has a change of heart after his son falls in love with the granddaughter of a lovable old libertarian and his household of eccentric misfits. Sweetly naïve with a first class cast and more than a few chuckles.

g
garycornell
Sep 07, 2014

The reviews already listed by Monolith and Joseph are well written and contain excellent comments on "Fnak Capra's You Can't Take It with You". I would add that it is an excellent cast with a wonderful script. Jean Arthur and James Stewart make quite a couple. "You Can't Take It With You" may not be as well known as some of the other Capra classics, but it is one of my favorites. I(f you haven't seen it yet, your missing you of life's great treasures.

m
Monolith
Aug 03, 2013

The family's eccentricities required a little acclimating to and patience from me at film's beginning; I initially thought that it was going to be just too corny what with Ann Miller constantly pirouetting as she set the dinner table... Eventually I got into it as the clash of the classes (upper & lower-middle) heated up. I'm a big fan of Jimmy Stewart's films, but his romantic subplot with Jean Arthur (who was so damned adorable) took a back seat to my interest in the outcome of Edward Arnold's greed-fueled quest for acquiring the deed to Lionel Barrymore's sentimentally cherished home. I found those two really engaging. I ended up really genuinely enjoying this sweet, tender film from Frank Capra -- full of sentiment and depth. Humble. And hilarious, at times (...particularly the crazy Russian dude's innocent yet over-zealous nature: body-slamming old man Kirby and slapping his wife on the back). "It's A Wonderful Life" still holds the number one spot in the ranks for me among the few that I've seen from Capra's repertoire, but this was definitely a 'keeper'. And btw, I counted six actors to be later used again by Capra in that infamous classic Christmas staple: Stewart (as George Bailey), Samuel S. Hinds (as his Dad, Peter Bailey), Barrymore (as Old Man Potter), H.B. Warner (as Mr. Gower, the pharmacist), Ward Bond (as Bert, the cop), & Charles Lane (as the I.R.S. agent here, and the real estate salesman in I.A.W.L.). Useless trivia that nobody cares about but me I suppose...

s
shopgirl152
May 21, 2013

Love this film! Absolutely delightful. Emotional, but in a good way. First time seeing it was really magical. I'd always heard of it, but never seen it. I thought it was a drama, then discovered it was a comedy. Love Jean Arthur's family.. they're kinda kooky, but they're happy and so you overlook their weirdness. It shows that you don't need to be dull and 'normal'. They're happy the way they are, and everybody loves them for who they are: honest, compassionate, generous people. <3 Definitely a must see.

j
JaiPea
Dec 30, 2011

This was a really enjoyable film. The family is crazy but lovable, and it was fun to watch.

b
bobgrant
Dec 14, 2011

Fabulous! I highly recommend it! Actually very relevant for today!

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VV17
Jan 25, 2016

VV17 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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Monolith
Aug 03, 2013

Grandpa Martin Vanderhof: "...Lincoln said, 'With malice toward none, with charity to all.' Nowadays they say, 'Think the way I do or I'll bomb the daylights outta ya.' "

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