Sunday, August 22, 2010
1938: You Can't Take It With You
In a nutshell, the message is that friends are more important than money, and if you don't like what you do for a living you should quit your job. It tells the story of a family that basically does whatever it wants: making fireworks, throwing giant darts, constantly doing ballet all over the house, that sort of thing. The most normal member of the family falls for her boss (he's played by Jimmy Stewart, so who can blame her?) who comes from a snooty, rich background, so naturally his parents greatly disapprove of her family. Hilarity ensues when the two families get together, but some serious life lessons manage to find their way into the story. Basically, it's a happy film, but it makes viewers think about their priorities.
Poor Lionel Barrymore was in lots of pain and almost completely crippled from arthritis, but that didn't stop him from giving a fabulous performance as the carefree, hermonica-playing grandpa, who conveniently sprains his ankle so he has an excuse to use crutches. Jean Arthur's performance was fantastic, as usual. And then there's Jimmy Stewart. Words cannot express how much I love Jimmy Stewart. So I guess to a certain extent I'm prejudiced in favor of this film because I love its stars, and I love Frank Capra as a director, but I thought it was really good. Maybe not quite as good as It Happened One Night, but close.
I can't believe I've already made it through 11 films! I'm almost out of the '30s already! But of course, the 1939 winner is almost 4 hours long, so that might slow things down a little bit.