You Can’t Take it With You (1938) is one of my favorite movies of all time, although it’s not the movie I remember. The last time I saw this film I was a teenager and I remember it being an inspiring movie about a household of eccentric people who do what they desire in life. Yes, I remember a plot about a granddaughter dating the son of an industrialist who is planning on destroying the neighborhood, but somehow the rest of the plot escaped my memory. You Can’t Take it With You turns out to be a less madcap and more sobering movie than I remembered, and a times a bit preachy too.
It’s a still a delightful movie in the Frank Capra mold. The strength of You Can’t Take it With You is in the performances of two actors portraying fathers and the decisions they face that will affect their children (I can relate to fathers now). Lionel Barrymore plays Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff, head of the eccentric household in Brooklyn while Edward Arnold plays his foil Anthony P. Kirby, the big businessman who has lost his way. A very young James Stewart also stars as the younger Kirby and even though he was a Reagan Republican in real life, he is seen spouting liberal anti-corporate ideology as he always seems to do in Capra films.
The supporting cast are excellent in portraying their various characters pursuing their crazy dreams. Message or no message this is a delightful film full of witty banter and all-around silliness. I highly recommend it.
Grandpa Martin Vanderhof: Lincoln said, “With malice toward none, with charity to all.” Nowadays they say, “Think the way I do or I’ll bomb the daylights outta you.”