Frank Capra's 1938 populist spin on the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play about a family of happy eccentrics is a great deal of fun, though it significantly rewrites the original work and doesn't represent Capra (Mr. De... more »eds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) at his best. Jean Arthur plays a member of the blissful Vanderhof household who falls in love with a rich man's son (James Stewart) and brings him into her nutty home. Lionel Barrymore, who played such a bad guy eight years later in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, is the wonderful Grandpa Vanderhof, who addresses God during the dinner prayer as "sir" and speaks plainly and beautifully of why it's good to be alive. Capra took this opportunity to rail against big business and champion the common man, but the overall tone of the film--typical for the director's comedies--is buoyant and snappy. --Tom Keogh« less
"**UPDATE: Please note this review was for a previous release of this movie. I have not viewed the latest remastered version**
As other reviewers have noted, "You Can't Take It with You" is a CLASSIC movie with a great cast and storyline. **However, this DVD is so poor in quality that I would recommend waiting for another release. It is obvious that this film has not been restored whatsoever. The picture is fuzzy and even jumps a bit at some points. **The sound quality is HORRENDOUS.** Even with the volume at full blast, parts of conversation are simply inaudible. I even tinkered with the treble and bass to try to make it a little clearer, but nothing worked. If you're absolutely desperate to own a copy of this movie now, then get it. But at least try to find a better deal in price."
I thought Columbia cared about classics. I thought wrong.
Rachel Lai | London, Ontario Canada | 03/08/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film itself: 5 stars. It's a wonderful, warm, witty, and simply enjoyable movie. I love it. The DVD: 1 starI 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."
Let's get some new staff in the Columbia DVD offices!
Rachel Lai | 02/22/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
A Sheer Delight!
scotsladdie | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
Polly Waddle Doodle All Day!
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 08/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."