You Can't Take It with You (film)
|You Can't Take It with You|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frank Capra|
|Produced by||Frank Capra|
|Screenplay by||Robert Riskin|
|Based on||You Can't Take It with You
by George Kaufman and Moss Hart
|Music by||Dimitri Tiomkin|
|Edited by||Gene Havlick|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
You Can't Take It with You is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra and starring Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, and Edward Arnold. Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, the film is about a man from a family of rich snobs who becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.
The film received two Academy Awards from seven nominations: Best Picture and Best Director for Frank Capra. This was Capra's third Oscar for Best Director in just five years, following It Happened One Night (1934) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). It was also the highest-grossing picture of the year.
Successful banker Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold) has just returned from Washington, D.C., where he was effectively granted a government-sanctioned munitions monopoly, which will make him very rich. He intends to buy up a 12-block radius around a competitor's factory to put him out of business, but there is one house that is a holdout to selling. Kirby instructs his real estate broker, John Blakely (Clarence Wilson), to offer a huge sum for the house, and if that is not accepted, to cause trouble for the family.
Kirby's son, Tony (James Stewart), a vice president in the family company, has fallen in love with a company stenographer, Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur). When Tony proposes marriage, Alice is worried that her family would be looked upon poorly by Tony's rich and famous family. In fact, Alice is the only relatively normal member of the eccentric Sycamore family, led by Grandpa Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore). Unbeknownst to the players, Alice's family lives in the house that will not sell out.
Kirby and the snobbish Mrs. Kirby (Mary Forbes) strongly disapprove of Tony's choice for marriage. Before she accepts, Alice forces Tony to bring his family to become better acquainted with their future in-laws. But when Tony purposely brings his family on the wrong day, the Sycamore family is caught off-guard and the house is in disarray. As the Kirbys are preparing to leave after a rather disastrous meeting, the police arrest everyone in the house for making unlicensed fireworks and disturbing the peace.
Held up in the drunk tank preparing to see the night court judge, Mrs. Kirby repeatedly insults Alice and makes her feel unworthy of her son. At the court hearing, the judge (Harry Davenport) repeatedly asks why the Kirbys were at the Vanderhof house. When Grandpa says it was to talk over selling the house, Alice has an outburst and says it was because she was engaged to Tony but is spurning him because of how poorly she has been treated by his family. This causes a sensation in the papers, and Alice flees the city.
With Alice gone, Grandpa decides to sell the house, thus meaning the whole section of the town must vacate in preparation for building a new factory. Now, the Kirby companies merge, creating a huge fluctuation in the stock market. When Kirby's competitor, Ramsey (H. B. Warner), dies after confronting him for being ruthless and a failure of a man, Kirby has a realization that he does not have any friends – just as Grandpa Vanderhof told him back in the drunk tank.
Kirby visits the Vanderhofs as they are moving out of the house, and Kirby lets loose and plays the harmonica and realizes these lower-class people he previously belittled are good people. Alice takes Tony back and the film ends with the Vanderhofs and Kirbys enjoying a meal together.
- Jean Arthur as Alice Sycamore
- Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof
- James Stewart as Tony Kirby
- Edward Arnold as Anthony P. Kirby
- Mischa Auer as Potap Kolenkhov
- Ann Miller as Essie Carmichael
- Spring Byington as Penelope "Penny" Sycamore
- Samuel S. Hinds as Paul Sycamore
- Donald Meek as Poppins
- H. B. Warner as Ramsey
- Halliwell Hobbes as DePinna
- Dub Taylor as Ed Carmichael
- Mary Forbes as Meriam Kirby
- Lillian Yarb as Rheba
- Eddie Anderson as Donald
- Clarence Wilson as John Blakeley
- Charles Lane as Wilbur G. Henderson, IRS agent
- Christian Rub as Mr. Schmidt
- Bodil Rosing as Mrs. Schmidt
- Harry Davenport as the Night Court Judge
- Ian Wolfe as A.P. Kirby's Secretary (unbilled)
- Ward Bond as the Detective (unbilled)
After seeing actor James Stewart portray "a sensitive, heart-grabbing role in MGM's Navy Blue and Gold," Frank Capra casted Stewart for the role of leading male character, Tony Kirby, to "[fit] his concept of idealized America."
Barrymore's infirmity was incorporated into the plot of the film. His character was on crutches the entire movie, which was said to be due to an accident from sliding down the banister. In reality, it was due to his increasing arthritis – earlier in the year he had been forced to withdraw from the movie A Christmas Carol. Ann Miller, who plays Essie Carmichael (Ed Carmichael's wife), was only 15 years old when this movie was filmed.
Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times called the film "a grand picture, which will disappoint only the most superficial admirers of the play."  Variety called it "fine audience material and over the heads of no one. The comedy is wholly American, wholesome, homespun, human, appealing, and touching in turn." The review suggested that "it could have been edited down a bit here and there, though as standing it is never tiresome." Film Daily wrote: "Smoothly directed, naturally acted and carefully produced, 'You Can't Take It With You' has all the elements of screen entertainment that the fans could wish for." "Excellent," wrote Harrison's Reports. "Robert Riskin did a fine job in adapting it from the stage play for he wisely placed emphasis on the human rather than on the farcical side of the story; yet he did this without sacrificing any of the comedy angles." John Mosher of The New Yorker thought that the stage version was superior, writing that many of the story's new additions for the screen made the film "a long one and at times a ponderous thing, the more so the further from the play the screen version strays."
Reviewing the film in 2010, James Berardinelli wrote that it "hasn't fared as well as the director's better, more timeless offerings" due to the dated nature of screwball comedies and the "innocence permeating the movie that doesn't play as well during an era when audiences value darkness in even the lightest of comedies. Still, You Can't Take it with You provides a pleasant enough two hours along with a reminder of how era-specific the criteria for winning an Oscar are."
- Best Supporting Actress: Spring Byington
- Best Writing (Screenplay): Robert Riskin
- Best Cinematography: Joseph Walker
- Best Film Editing: Gene Havlick
- Best Sound Recording: Columbia Studio Sound Department, John P. Livadary, Sound Director
Adaptations to other media
In 2013, digital restoration of the film was done by Sony Colorworks. The digital pictures were frame by frame digitally restored at Prasad Corporation to remove dirt, tears, scratches and other artifacts, restoring the film to its original look.
- "Notes". Turner Classic Movies. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "A World Premiere of World Importance! (Advertisement)". Film Daily (New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.): p. 8-9. August 25, 1938.
- You Can't Take It With You at the Internet Broadway Database
- "Frank Capra: Authorship and the Studio System". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "A Wonderful Life: The Films and Career of James Stewart - Tony Thomas". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- The New York Times Film Reviews, Volume 2: 1932-1938. New York: The New York Times & Arno Press. 1970. p. 1527.
- "Film Reviews". Variety (New York: Variety, Inc.): p. 12. September 7, 1938.
- "Reviews". Film Daily (New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.): p. 9. August 26, 1938.
- "You Can't Take It with You". Harrison's Reports (New York: Harrison's Reports, Inc.): p. 150. September 17, 1938.
- Mosher, John (September 10, 1938). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker (New York: F-R Publishing Corp.): p. 79.
- Berardinelli, James (May 6, 2010). "You Can't Take it with You". Reelviews. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "The 11th Academy Awards (1939) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- "Sony Pictures' Rita Belda on Film Grain, 4K, and Restoring a Screwball Classic". Studio Daily. 2013-12-23. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- Altman, Randi (2013-11-18). "Capra's classic 'It Happened One Night' restored in 4K - postPerspective - Randi Altman's". postPerspective. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to You Can't Take It With You (film).|
- You Can't Take It With You at AllMovie
- You Can't Take It With You at the Internet Movie Database
- You Can't Take It With You at the Internet Broadway Database
- You Can't Take It With You at the TCM Movie Database
- You Can't Take It With You at the American Film Institute Catalog
- You Can't Take It With You at Rotten Tomatoes
- You Can't Take It With You on Lux Radio Theater: October 2, 1939