Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Can't Take It With You

Dir: Frank Capra, 1938 (8.3*)

Best Picture (AA)
This is one's of Frank Capra's signature films: a depression era anti-capitalist, pro avg joe type film. The story centers on businessman James Stewart, the uninterested, unmotivated inheritor of dad Edward Arnold's capitalist empire, the type of guy who's always so busy making deals he never takes time to know those closest to him. Stewart falls for peppy secretary Jean Arthur, whose lovably eccentric family is led by Capra favorite Lionel Barrymore, in probably his most appealing role, Spring Byington as his daughter, Ann Miller (an awful dancer as a parody) as another granddaughter (Arthur's sister), and a host of males in the basement inventing both new fireworks and other enjoyable toys. The funniest sequence involves an IRS tax collector in the family living room grilling Barrymore as to WHY he never filed any tax returns nor paid any taxes. The play by George Kaufman and Moss Hart won a Pulitzer prize, and this deservedly won Best Picture and Director in 38 but for some reason isn't seen very often anymore. Perhaps its lack of a strong plot. "Repression from corporate capitalists" also comes to mind, as the film would have been banned and then used as fodder by the HUAC had it come out 15 yrs later, but the anti-business attitude of the pre-war 30's depression era made it not only timely and popular but still relevant today. Noticed by the Oscars as well, 7 nominations, 2 Oscars
Quote: Did you ever notice how they try to use fear to control us? (Barrymore)


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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