122 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2003
This film itself:
It's a wonderful, warm, witty, and simply enjoyable movie. I love it.
I bought this DVD without reading any reviews (I also bought "Talk of The Town", a day-and-date Columbia release), because Columbia has, in the past, done astounding work restoring and remastering their old films ("It Happened One Night" from their Classics collection is nothing short of an amazing transfer). Apparently, their agenda has changed: they are now content to simply release anything as long as they can tout it as a "high-definition remaster", thus tricking their customers into thinking that some money and time was actually spent on striking a new print. Both this and "Talk Of The Town" look and sound absolutely horrible. The VHS version of this film has less grain and fewer sound defects (hissing, popping abound). In fact, this transfer is akin in quality to the one I often see on network television -- it's an absolute disaster on all levels. Virtually unwatchable. Avoid at all costs until Columbia treats its customers (and this film) right with a proper DVD release. Even Paramount is doing it with their catalogue releases, Columbia! Get with the program.
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2000
Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart are terrific in this screwball classic about the trials and tribulations of a VERY eccentric family during the depression. Edward Arnold and Lionel Barrymore are tremendous and even though the picture has dated notions, they only seem to add to the movie's charm as a whole. Director Capra had reached his creative genius by 1938 (The FIRST director to have his name above the credits, this genius almost singlehandedly kept Columbia Pictures financially sound.) Jean Arthur made her first film, a silent in 1923! she had to wait an incredible 12 years before her comedic gifts were finally recognized by Hollywood. Never as young as audiences assumed, she was born in 1901 and was 37 in this comedy classic which was voted by the Academy as the Best Picture of 1938. A delightful diversion in the screwball genre!
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
If you were not in love with Jean Arthur before seeing this Frank Capra gem, you certainly will be afterward. Robert Riskin handed the great director another warm and hilarious screenplay, based this time on a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. A perfect cast, which includes Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Jimmy Stewart, Spring Byington, Mischa Auer, Edward Arnold, Donald Meek, Ann Miller, Harry Davenport and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, make this a true film classic.
The story centers around the impending marriage of Tony Kirby (Jimmy Stewart) and Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) and the complications that arise due to her very unconventional family, headed by her kind and loving grandfather, portrayed in memorable fashion by Lionel Barrymore. Everyone in her family does pretty much as they please, defying convention and unafraid to enjoy life to its fullest.
Alice's mother Penny (Spring Byington) writes plays because a typewriter was once delivered to their house by mistake. Her sister Essie (Ann Miller) can't dance worth beans but takes lessons anyway from a starving and slightly crazy Russian named Kolenkov (Mischa Auer). He knows she can't dance but comes for the food and might as well be one of the family. Alice's dad spends all his time creating fireworks and testing them out inside the house. And grandpa, who refuses to pay taxes, has brought home a Mr. Poppins (Donald Meek), whom he has talked into pursuing his true love, which happens to be the making of monstor masks. All the above is usually going on simultaneously as grandpa plays the harmonica.
Tony's family is involved in some strange thing called banking. His father Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold) is, in fact, one of the most powerful men in America, and seeking even more power in a deal that hinges on his acquisition of an entire city block. But Alice's family lives in that block and grandpa is quite happy to hold out so everyone in the neighborhood doesn't have to move.
There is a warm and charming scene as the young couple talk of their dreams and families on a bench by a moonlit lake. They end up dancing with some kids trying to make a buck, and Arthur somehow winds up with a sign on her back that reads: NUTS! Since Alice and Tony are on their way to meet his parents for the first time, it might just raise some eyebrows!
The sweet but nervous Alice finally arranges for the Kirbys to come for dinner. Tony brings them on the wrong night, however, and catches everyone being their normal and whacky selves. Even Alice gets caught in the act, sliding on the bannister! The only thing Anthony P. Kirby has in common with these folks is he once upon a time played the harmonica, just like Alice's grandpa. Both Lionel Barrymore and Edward Arnold shine, respectively, as man enjoying life, with lots of friends, and a man out to make more money, at any price.
A fireworks mishap lands both families in jail, and the press has a field day when they learn Anthony P. Kirby is in the clinck! Harry Davenport is wonderful as the wise judge they are brought before who does his best to straighten the mess out. The results are terrible, however, as Alice is hurt by Tony's family and runs away, refusing to let Tony know where she's at. She comes rushing back when word reaches her that her grandpa has given in to Kirby, and is selling their home.
It is Kirby who will set things right in the end as his love for his son and a foreshadowing of his own future causes gradpa's words to sink in. You really can't take it with you, but you sure can play the harmonica! Even Tony's stuffy mom might loosen up a bit, if handled in the right way. The daughter-in-law they didn't want, with the family they didn't like, may just prove to be the best thing that ever happened to the Kirbys.
Stewart and Arthur are great together, and Arthur is just magical in a couple of scenes. Eddie Anderson, Jack Benny's long-time sidekick, has a few fun moments also. No director ever straddled the line between the sweet and madcap better than Frank Capra, and this warm and wonderful film is proof of that. You can't take it with you, but you can certainly pick this film up and take it home, which is exactly what I suggest you do.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
After viewing this film on TV, I wanted to purchase a copy of it on a DVD but was discouraged from doing so after reading reviews of the poor audio/visual quality on DVDs. Soon after, I discussed this situation with a friend who said that he had purchased at least one copy of this film on a DVD from amazon and told me that his copy was fine, so I took a chance and ordered myself a copy on a DVD. I purchased my copy from an amazon affiliate due only to the low price offered. The visual and sound quality on my DVD is excellent throughout the entire film. The quality is as fine or better than any I have seen on DVD.
90 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2003
Of all the beloved Capra classics, this one probably belongs on the bottom of the list. But it's classic all the same, and as such deserves respectful treatment on DVD. This is not the case here! Once again, Columbia is asking us to pay 30 bucks for a horrible DVD-transfer; in fact, the worst one so far among all the black and white releases produced during the last eight months. A year or two ago, one could rest assured that Columbia tried to give us decent or better transfers of their famous film library of the past. That or those persons responsible must have been fired! After 30 minutes of watching this one I felt so cheated and upset that I had to stop the film. The grain is intolerable; the focus is unstable at best; there are scratches and dirt galore (not to mention big black splices), and the sound is muffled and distorted. Not one cent has been spent on trying to preserve and present Mr. Capra's opus in the best possible way. Just look at what Warner has been doing lately with films like "Now, Voyager" and "Mildred Pierce": They sparkle like first class jewels! (And they charge $ 20.00!)The Columbia library could easily shine just as bright - that means, if somebody cared. Hey, Columbia: How about hiring some new people who love those old black and white classics! They sure would be welcome!
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Recently, I found this movie at my aunt's home and decided to make a go of watching it even though it is black & white. The truth is, soon you absolutely forget that fact and become quite absorbed watching some of the most colorful free spirits you will ever see in an "old" movie.
Frank Capra once described a play he saw "whose witchery was so entrancing, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away from the final curtain."
This was of course "You Can't Take it With You." The Kaufman-Hart play. In fact, this movie is a bit like a play in some scenes.
The story centers around two families. One rich, one poor. The rich family is of course a threat to the entire community as they want to buy up the poor families homes so they can build a factory.
In the middle of this business deal, two people fall in love. Tony is the son of a rich businessman and Alice is the only working member of a rather eccentric family.
Alice (Jean Arthur) and Tony (Jimmy Stewart) have a warm chemistry that makes you just fall in love with them both and you want them to be together. Of course Tony's snooty mother is as cold as ice and his father is about to make the deal of his life, yet conflicted.
Alice's family is a mismatch of creative energy and is the basis for the humor in this story. When Tony takes his parents to Alice's home on the wrong night for dinner, the real fun begins. Just when you think the story can't get any worse for Tony's parents, it gets even more amusing. I laughed out loud plenty of times and it was so unexpected, but well worth the wait. The start of the movie is a little drab, but make yourself plow through the first bit.
In the first few scenes in Alice's home, there is a cat. Oh, look for that cat. It is adorable! It is sitting atop the pile of papers next to the typewriter and just as it is getting comfortable, Alice's mother picks up the cat and uses it as a paperweight of sorts to hold down the pile of papers. Anyway, it is quite cute.
During the production, Lionel Barrymore was suffering from arthritis, and needed crutches to move around. They worked this nicely into the movie by claiming the character sprained his ankle sliding down the banister. Lionel will have you rolling on the floor yourself as he deals with a very frustrated IRS man and bring you close to tears as he plays the harmonica with his newest friend.
A movie everyone should see because it deals with such very human ideas, and well...it is also just hilarious!
A timeless classic!
~The Rebecca Review
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2007
I saw this movie on the shelf at the library and, after finding it had James Stewart in it and was directed by Capra, figured it had to be good. I was not disappointed. My kids groaned when they realized it was in black and white but they quickly got over it and realy enjoyed this film. The story has been told by many of the other reviewers so I won't rehash it here. It was fun to see Lionel Barrymore in a role so totally reversed from the Mr. Potter he plays in "It's a Wonderful Life." The supporting cast is a lot of fun. I don't know all the actor's names but there were a lot of familiar faces. It was especially fun to see and hear a very young Dub Taylor as the xylophone playing ex-college football player from Alabama who came for dinner one night and didn't leave. I even liked Ann Miller and usually her characters just annoy me.
This film is a lot of fun and has a great message to it. It did leave me with one question however - what shampoo did Jean Arthur use to get her hair so shiny? I'd love to have some.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2002
A series of supurlatives make this film a special treasure:
1) the Kaufman-Hart play skillfully adapted for a movie setting, 2) Frank Capra at his best--humor, warmth, message, great actors, and terrific story line. 3)Lionel Barrymore's only flaw as an actor was that he was 50 years old before sound was introduced in 1927. Even with this limitation he won an Oscar (1931) and in this film he is absolutely at the top of his game. 4) Jimmy Stewart, one year prior to his Mr. Smith fame, is absolutely stunning with his off beat humor ("You're so beautiful it gags me!" "You never asked me, she did!") 5) Mischa Auer, never seen him in another role, but hilarious here--particularly the wrestling scenes with Edward Arnold, 6) A series of other less prominent but terrific performances, Jean Arthur, Ann Miller (only 18 here at the start of a spectacular career), Spring Byington (Oscar nominated for her daffy role as the mother/daughter), the cat, Mr. Poppins, the IRS man, the Judge, and the thread that ties it all together: the "Home Sweet Home" sign that keeps falling off the wall. And amidst all this hysterical chaos a heart-warming message: Take the time to enjoy each moment. Your can't take it with you.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2008
I don't care whether a few cynical souls accuse Capra of too much sentimentality; I love his films. And "You Can't Take It With You" is at least a temporary antidote for the economic hard times a lot of Americans are going through now. He always seems to find a fresh way of reminding us of the most important things in life - the love and support of family and friends.
Besides, Barrymore is a hoot and a half as the presumptive head of the Sycamore clan. Ann Miller is also delightful as the bat-brained would-be ballerina Essie (it must have been hard for Miller to incorporate awkwardness in her steps as she flits around the house - most of the time she doesn't dance all that badly). And Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur are a sweetheart of a couple.
If you or your family have been hit by the layoffs (as mine has), this is a good film to see for a little perspective.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2003
I think this movie is much better than It's a Wonderful Life which gets more press. The characters are loveably zany and an ensemble of great actors play them. However, the DVD is a real disappointment. It is advertised as 'digitally remastered' and HiDef quality which it is. BUT EVERY SCRATCH AND DING in the master has been lovingly 'remastered' along with it. I am amazed that they didn't clean up the movie. Movies half the price - like His Girl Friday done by LaserDisc - are absolutely clear and clean as well. This classic deserves a better effort than this so jeers to the company, whoever they are. I'm selling this one and waiting for a better attempt, thank you very much. Buy it only if you haven't seen the movie.