You Can’t Take It With You Blu-ray Review

Actors: Mischa Auer, Ann Miller, Spring Byington, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore
  • Director: Frank Capra
  • Producer: Frank Capra
  • Format: Blu-ray, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Czech, German, Hindi, Finnish, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Italian, Korean, Dutch, Hebrew, Norwegian, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, Danish, Japanese
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 8, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2018
  • Run Time: 126 minutes


            Frank Capra is often credited with making the first screwball comedy with It Happened One Night in 1934, and in 1938 he perfected it by adapting the popular stage play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart into an unforgettable American film classic. You Can’t Take It With You is significant for many reasons, including a breakout performance from James Stewart that would lead to collaborations with the director in some of his most beloved classics (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It’s a Wonderful Life). But beyond historical significance is a simple story of universal appeal, one which had the heartfelt sincerity and optimism that was instantly recognizable in a Capra film. The story may be Kaufman and Hart’s, down to the dialogue transferred over from the play, but Capra embraced it as his own and created a cinematic collaboration as timeless today as it was nearly 80-years ago.


            As with most Screwball comedies, the story of You Can’t Take It With You centers on a romantic relationship between a couple from distinctly different social standings. Tony Kirby (Stewart) is the son of a wealthy tycoon (Edward Arnold) working for his father when he falls in love with his free-spirited secretary, Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur). Unbeknownst to the young couple, Tony’s father is desperately trying to purchase the home owned by Alice’s father (Lionel Barrymore) as the last property needed to complete a massive development deal. Unfortunately for him, Alice turns out to be the most stable of the tenants living in the eclectic home filled with artistic types that her father has gathered over the years. No amount of money can entice a group of people who long ago resigned to a life of happiness and creative expression over success and wealth.


            While the original play had less than 20 roles, Capra cast well over 100 actors for his film adaptation, providing an extra level of chaotic energy into the story. While some of these roles are added for the sequences outside of the Sycamore household (the play takes place exclusively in the family living room), there were many additional bodies added to existing sequences, providing a constant flurry of activity within the narrative. This fast-paced style paired well with the clever quips of dialogue, and Capra was able to perfectly mold it into the style of the sub-genre he had all but defined years earlier.


            This Blu-ray release of Capra’s classic comes in a collectible hard-cover booklet case, which includes production stills, cast filmography, and a wonderful essay about the film from Jeremy Arnold. The special features on the disc include a commentary track with Frank Capra Jr. and author Cathrine Kellison, as well as a featurette with the famous filmmaker’s son recalling memories of his father’s filmmaking endeavors. Also included is the original theatrical trailer, though the real star is the film itself, which has been fully restored and mastered in 4K. This is especially significant considering the original negative is thought to have been destroyed. A detailed description of the effort it took to track down and restore the best possible prints of this film is also included in the booklet.


    Entertainment Value: 10/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 10/10

    Historical Significance:  10/10

    Special Features: 7.5/10

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