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DETAILS

MPAA Rating - NR

Length:
    126 Minutes

Genre:
    Comedy

Original Release Date:
    Feb 18, 2003

Director
    Frank Capra

Cast
    Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Edward Arnold, Mischa Auer, Ann Miller, Spring Byington

 
Movie Summary
Moss Harts and George S. Kaufmans whimsical Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play You Cant Take It With You was transformed into a paean to populism by director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin. This is the story of the zany Sycamore household, presided over by Grandpa Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), a former businessman who has turned his back on commerce to enjoy life. At the Sycamores, everyone does just what he or she pleases. Penny Sycamore (Spring Byington), Grandpas daughter, has become a novelist because someone delivered a typewriter to her home by mistake. Pennys husband makes firecrackers in his basement with the help of Mr. DePinna, an iceman who showed up at the Sycamore doorstep one day and never left. Their daughter Essie (Ann Miller) imagines that shes a prima ballerina, even though her dour teacher Boris assesses her work with, Confidentially, it steenks! Essies husband Ed, whod rather play a xylophone than work, spends his free time selling Essies candy, wrapping each package in paper from a used printing press that dispenses anarchistic slogans. The one normal member of the household is Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur), in love with wealthy Tony Kirby (James Stewart). Naturally, when the stuffy, aristocratic Kirbys come to the Sycamores for dinner, the event is a disaster, capped with the arrest of everyone in the household. Hart and Kaufmans third act found the previously judgmental Kirby softening his attitude towards the freewheeling Sycamore clan, admitting that hes never had so much fun in his life. Screenwriter Riskin altered the focus of the play by throwing out the third act and concentrating upon Tony Kirbys father, Kirby, Sr., who as played by Edward Arnold is transformed from a stock stuffed shirt into a ruthless, grasping tycoon, eager to buy up every house on the Sycamores block to make room for a munitions plant. The film thus became the story of Kirbys regeneration at the hands of the carefree Sycamores. Enough of the plays screwball elements are retained to compensate for Riskins speechifying and plot distortions (though the softening of one of the plays vital ingredients, Grandpas refusal to pay his income tax, borders on the sacrilegious). You Cant Take It With You earned several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (Capras third Oscar). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


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