The son of a snobbish Wall Street banker becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family, not realizing that his father is trying to force her family from their... Read allThe son of a snobbish Wall Street banker becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family, not realizing that his father is trying to force her family from their home for a real estate development.The son of a snobbish Wall Street banker becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family, not realizing that his father is trying to force her family from their home for a real estate development.
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.
- Jan 23, 2000