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You Can't Take It with You

11 Ratings: 3.4
A movie

The stenographer Alice Sycamore is in love with her boss Tony Kirby, who is the vice-president of the powerful company owned by his greedy father Anthony P. Kirby. Kirby Sr. is dealing a monopoly in the trade of weapons, and needs to buy one last house … see full wiki

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Release Date: August 23, 1938
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about You Can't Take It with You

This 1938 Frank Capra classic is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comedies of all time.

  • Dec 1, 2009
  • by

It simply never ceases to amaze me just how many fabulous motion pictures were made in the 1930's and 1940's.  Recall that movie historians and film buffs often look back on the year 1939 as "the greatest year in film history".   During the 1930's the Italian born film director Frank Capra made a series of fabulous movies.  In 1938, Capra released the madcap comedy "You Can't Take It With You"  starring Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Jean Arthur and a very young James Stewart.  Up until just a few months ago I had never seen or even heard of this film.  Now after 4 or 5 viewings I would count "You Can't Take It With You" among the very finest comedies ever made.

Lionel Barrymore stars as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof, a former business mogul who tossed it all away because "he wasn't having any fun".  Grandpa presides over a household full of misfits and eccentrics who share Grandpa's rather far-out philosophy of life.  At any given time you are liable to see a fireworks display, a wrestling match, ballet lessons and the list goes on and on.  Grandpa's daughter Penny (Spring Byington) spends her days writing plays just because "a typewriter was delivered to the house by mistake several years earlier".   It seems that there is never a dull moment at the Vanderhof place.  

Meanwhile, over on the "right side of the tracks" Anthony B. Kirby (Edward Arnold) is running his corporation with an iron fist.  He is consumed with making his munitions company a virtual monopoly and has elaborate plans to make that happen.  His son Tony (James Stewart) is rather green behind the ears and does not exactly share his fathers enthusiasm for the business world.  Nonetheless, his father has made him a Vice President of this concern.  Tony is much more interested in his secretary Alice (Jean Arthur) who just by coincidence happens to be the granddaughter of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof.  Tony and Alice want to get married but Alice will not say "yes" until Tony's parents meet her family.  As you might expect the meeting of the staid and conservative Mr. & Mrs. Kirby and Alice's rather offbeat clan proves to be positively hilarious. 

I am by no means alone in my evaluation of "You Can't Take It With You".  This film won two Academy Awards in 1938 including "Best Picture".  Everything about this movie is top-notch.  Each and every member of the cast is outstanding and the sight gags are first rate.   This is a highly entertaining film that I could watch again and again.   In fact, I have watched it several times over the past couple of months!  Very highly recommended!

This 1938 Frank Capra classic is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comedies of all time. This 1938 Frank Capra classic is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comedies of all time. This 1938 Frank Capra classic is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comedies of all time. This 1938 Frank Capra classic is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comedies of all time.

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June 22, 2010
Yeah it is amazing how Hollywood used to know how to produce well-written, well-directed films. I'm sure someone somewhere figured out why. We get maybe one or two movies a year that are any good nowadays. Great review, post more to The Silver Screen!
December 02, 2009
How funny. We just watched this on the same day as your review. Our kids had never seen it, and we loved it!
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