You Can't Take It with You
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Academy Award(r) winner James Stewart (1940 Best Actor, The Philadelphia Story), Jean Arthur, Academy Award(r) winner Lionel Barrymore (1931 Best Actor, A Free Soul) and Edward Arnold star in this classic screwball comedy. Arthur stars as Alice Sycamore, the stable family member of an offbeat clan of free spirits who falls for Tony Kirby (James Stewart), the down-to-earth son of a snooty, wealthy family. Amidst a backdrop of confusion, the two very different families rediscover the simple joys of life. Based on the phenomenally successful Kaufman-Hart play, You Can't Take It With You was directed by Frank Capra and won two Academy Awards(r) (1938 Best Picture, Best Director). Now fully restored in 4K, this heartwarming and timeless classic is perfect for every family.
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I won’t go into discussing the plot or the acting. This is a classic film and you can get that info from other reviews. But I will say that – even though it was made in 1938 (and won BEST PICTURE and Best Director Oscars) – the story is just as timely today with investment and real estate moguls buying up properties for speculation.
Until a few years ago – when ORIGINAL nitrate 35 mm prints of two of Director Frank Capra’s films were discovered in a shed on his former property – prints of the film were less than optimal. It took years of digital editing and scanning to create this new print – and it looks great. (younger viewers should be aware that it is in Black and white and in 4:3 screen aspect ratio, so you will have black bars on left and right of TV screen. The film runs 126 minutes.
There bonuses here are enjoyable but not new. Both the informative 25 minute featurette with Frank Capra JR is from the 2005 release as is the feature length commentary. But if you have the earlier version and truly LOVE this film, you might want to upgrade. If buying for first time, you’ll want the 2015 version. It comes in a small hardbound book with an essay on the film, 2 pages about the restoration and lots of photos.
And there are subtitles in 22 (you read that right!) languages (including Swedish, Hindi, Turkish and three dialects of Spanish). Talk about “universal”!
This is a true classic and Sony gave it the 5 star treatment!
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
For once though, I'm really glad.
The new Blu-ray release of Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With you has a nice book case with supplemental data. Covering well the relationship between the film and the play and how it came to be. I never realized how big a success both were back in the 1930s. Frank Capra's work is some of the good stuff among classic films, IMHO.
Something that I never knew was how hard it's been to get a good cut of the film. Not so much luck with the archival copies, including what the library of congress has on file. Apparently, someone finally smashed open a locked room on the late Capra's ranch and found a bunch of old films. Only bits of two were recoverable, You Can't Take It With You was one of them. The work on the new 4K master helped net us the best copy of the film...when so many great films, the originals are gone, lost to history and we're fortunate to even be able to watch some of them today in any form.
I've written about the film numerous times over the years because it's one of my favorites. It's crazy. it's fun. It's beautiful. You should watch it. I suggest the shiny new Blu-ray or flipping on TCM when it's on.