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You Can't Take It with You (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 29 September 1938 (USA)
A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

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Writers:

(screen play), (based upon the play by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mary Forbes ...
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Donald (as Eddie Anderson)
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Storyline

The stenographer Alice Sycamore is in love with her boss Tony Kirby, who is the vice-president of the powerful company owned by his greedy father Anthony P. Kirby. Kirby Sr. is dealing a monopoly in the trade of weapons, and needs to buy one last house in a twelve block area owned by Alice's grandparent Martin Vanderhof. However, Martin is the patriarch of an anarchic and eccentric family where the members do not care for money but for having fun and making friends. When Tony proposes Alice, she states that it would be mandatory to introduce her simple and lunatic family to the snobbish Kirbys, and Tone decides to visit Alice with his parents one day before the scheduled. There is an inevitable clash of classes and lifestyles, the Kirbys spurn the Sycamores and Alice breaks with Tony, changing the lives of the Kirby family. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Great Pulitzer Prize Play...Becomes the Year's Outstanding Picture! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vive como quieras  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,644,736 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the French-dubbed version made in 1938, the names of some of the characters were changed: "Anthony P. Kirby" (played by Edward Arnold) became "Alexandre P. Kirby"; "Essie Carmichael" (played by Ann Miller) was rechristened "Sylvie Carmichael". Similarly "Penny Sycamore" (played by Spring Byington) became "Jenny Sycomore"; "Ed Carmichael" (portrayed by Dub Taylor) became "Ned Carmichael" and finally Lillian Yarbo's character named "Rheba" in the original version was renamed "Rebeccah". See more »

Goofs

When AP greets Tony on entering the office, the position of AP's arm with his hat changes. See more »

Quotes

Poppins: The die is cast. I'm a lily!
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Have some popcorn.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Hole in the Head (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Hungarian Dance
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played on an xylophone by Dub Taylor and danced by Ann Miller
See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely satisfying Capra!
23 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

One message. "Nothing is worth doing if you can't enjoy it, and when it's over- you can't take it with you!"

Do any of Capra's works actually speak 'that' one particular message? Perhaps the closest to the above is "It Happened One Night". "Lost Horizon" is about rediscovery and peace of mind. "Mr Smith" is politically and small town oriented and "Mr Deeds" deals with the same except without some political yawn. George Bailey should have had a better dosage of the "You Can't Take it With You" policy in "It's a Wonderful Life".

Here is a play that exercises Frank Capra's famous adage with all humour already built in. Why shouldn't it work?

The stage version was a phenomenal success, written superbly by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. If their story is slightly lacking, look no further than the delightful cast of characters. Mr Poppins, toy and mask maker. Alice's Father who meddles with fireworks. Essie the ballerina, Penny the playwright and the wonderful Russian ballet teacher. The uptight Kirby banking corporation. Then there's the "Mr Smith" duo, Tony (Jimmy Stewart) and Alice (Jean Arthur).

The stand out performer here, is naturally the lovable Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa Vanderfhoff. Although the first film in which the damaging effects of his arthritis began to show, Capra had his leg put in a cast and had him move around on crutches. He relishes his performance.

I have heard of complaints which discuss the fact this film fails to address corruption and greed in a similar manner to "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" which successfully played its part going against the American capital. Once again, Capra emphasises his favourite theme of the little guy up against the world and succeeds, but "You Can't Take it With You" basically does not even make a mild attempt to criticise the American system of government, past or present, even though I know very little about it.

On different levels, look at this film in the light of discussing heavier issues, as the aforementioned greed and corruption. I just don't think Mr Capra would have liked it as much for one of his works to be remembered like that, especially with the basic message staring at us right in the face.

Nevertheless, it is another of Capra's life saving feel good movies. All it is encouraging us to do is to have a little fun.

Rating: 8/10


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