You Can’t Take It with You

“You Can’t Take It with You” – closing table scene.

As the winter holidays grow near, the political mood of the country is not very festive. Therefore, it is up to each of us to decide how we want to spread good cheer – or not. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, Capitalists, Socialists — lower taxes, raise taxes, jobs bill, Wall Street – it’s all a sham and a shame of a blame game! A house, a government, or a relationship divided – cannot stand! [Note: If it’s happening, it’s planned!]

So … let’s disconnect from the talking heads for awhile, and get in the holiday spirit. There is a way! Go out and rent, or purchase, the 1938 award winning film You Can’t Take It with You. The film is publicized as a “screwball comedy,” however, it is much, much, more than that. It is extremely relevant to the times we live in.

One night in New York City, Frank Capra became enthralled by the Pulitzer Prize winning play, of the same name, by George Kaufman and Moss Hart. He soon decided that he could dramatize his two favorite themes: “love thy neighbor” and “the viability of the lamb when confronted with the lion.” In 1938 the film appealed to Americans in mass, especially to the “Depression audience” amused by such scenes as Lionel Barrymore confronting an IRS man and refusing to pay his income taxes.

The fun stems from a backdrop of confusion between two very different families. One family is an offbeat clan of free spirits, and the other a snooty, wealthy family of bankers. You Can’t Take It with You is a portrayal of the human spirit at its very best.

On a personal note: This film brought back the “free spirit” in me in a big way. In fact, I want to get a place big enough to house all the free-spirited adventurous people in my life. This bit of celluloid offers “lessons for life,” by a family that most of us would enjoy being a part of.

One of my favorite scenes is where Barrymore (known as Grandpa Vanderhoff) asks Mr. Poppins, “Do you like this work you are doing?” Mr. Poppins: “Oh my goodness, no.” Grandpa: “Then why do you do it?” After a little more dialogue Grandpa invites Mr. Poppins to come and live at his house, saying, “Everyone over at our place does just what they want to do.” Mr. Poppins: “How would I live?” Grandpa: “The same way we do.” Mr. Poppins: “Who takes care of you?” Grandpa: “The same one who takes care of the lilies of the field.” (Check Matthew 6:28.)

James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Mischa Auer, Ann Miller, and Spring Byington star in this critically acclaimed success, winning two Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Director) plus five more nominations. It was Capra’s third Oscar for directing.

This classic film will warm the cockles of your heart!

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