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You Can't Take It with You Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's whimsical Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play You Can't Take It With You was transformed into a paean to populism by director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin. This is the story of the zany Sycamore household, presided over by Grandpa Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), a former businessman who has turned his back on commerce to enjoy life. At the Sycamores', everyone does just what he or she pleases. Penny Sycamore (Spring Byington), Grandpa's daughter, has become a novelist because someone delivered a typewriter to her home by mistake. Penny's husband makes firecrackers in his basement with the help of Mr. DePinna (Halliwell Hobbes), an iceman who showed up at the Sycamore doorstep one day and never left. Their daughter, Essie (Ann Miller), imagines that she's a prima ballerina, even though her dour teacher, Boris (Mischa Auer), assesses her work with, "Confidentially, it steenks!" Essie's husband, Ed (Dub Taylor), who'd rather play a xylophone than work, spends his free time selling Essie's candy, wrapping each package in paper from a used printing press that dispenses anarchistic slogans. The one normal member of the household is Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur), in love with wealthy Tony Kirby (James Stewart). Naturally, when the stuffy, aristocratic Kirbys come to the Sycamores' for dinner, the event is a disaster, capped with the arrest of everyone in the household. Hart and Kaufman's third act found the previously judgmental Kirby softening his attitude toward the freewheeling Sycamore clan, admitting that he's never had so much fun in his life. Screenwriter Riskin altered the focus of the play by throwing out the third act and concentrating upon Tony Kirby's father, Kirby Sr., who as played by Edward Arnold is transformed from a stock stuffed shirt into a ruthless, grasping tycoon, eager to buy up every house on the Sycamores' block to make room for a munitions plant. The film thus became the story of Kirby's regeneration at the hands of the carefree Sycamores. Enough of the play's screwball elements are retained to compensate for Riskin's speechifying and plot distortions (though the softening of one of the play's vital ingredients, Grandpa's refusal to pay his income tax, borders on the sacrilegious). You Can't Take It With You earned several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (Capra's third Oscar). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Frank Capra Best Director 1938 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joseph Walker Best Cinematography 1938 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Riskin Best Screenplay 1938 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Spring Byington Best Supporting Actress 1938 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gene Havlick Best Editing 1938 Nominee

Cast

Jean Arthur
as Alice Sycamore
Lionel Barrymore
as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof
James Stewart
as Tony Kirby
Edward Arnold
as Anthony P. Kirby
Mischa Auer
as Kolenkhov
Ann Miller
as Essie Carmichael
Spring Byington
as Penny Sycamore
Samuel S. Hinds
as Paul Sycamore
Donald Meek
as Poppins
H.B. Warner
as Ramsey
Halliwell Hobbes
as Mr. DePinna
Dub Taylor
as Ed Carmichael
Mary Forbes
as Mrs. Anthony P. Kirby
Lillian Yarbo
as Rheba
Clarence H. Wilson
as John Blakely
Josef Swickard
as Professor
Ann Doran
as Maggie O'Neill
Christian Rub
as Schmidt
Charles Lane
as Henderson
Harry Davenport
as Judge
Stanley Andrews
as Attorney
Frank Austin
Gladys Blake
as Mary
Beatrice Blinn
Joe Bordeaux
as Taxi Driver
Eddy Chandler
as G-Man
Wallis Clark
as Hughes
Anne Cornwall
as Blakely's Secretary
Nell Craig
Sidney D'Albrook
as Trustee
Lou Davis
Vernon Dent
as Expressman
Lester Dorr
Roland DuPree
Oliver Eckhardt
James Farley
as Police Sergeant
Betty Farrington
Eddie Fetherstone
Bess Flowers
Jack Gardner
Jack Grant
Jesse Graves
Chuck Hamilton
Boyd Irwin
as Attorney
Eddie Kane
as Kirby's Attorney
Louis King
Bob Kortman
Bill Lally
as Reporter
Margaret Mann
as Neighbor
James Millican
Frank Mills
Bruce Mitchell
as Policeman
Clive Morgan
Gene Morgan
Wedgewood Nowell
as Man
Lee Phelps
as Bailiff
Hilda Plowright
as Lady Melville
Ed Randolph
Doris Rankin
as Mrs. Leach
Dick Rush
as Bank Guard
Harry Semels
Frank Shannon
as Mac
Edwin Stanley
as Executive
Bert Starkey
John Ince
as Neighbor
James Flavin
as Jailer
Ward Bond
as Detective
Robert Greig
as Diner
Jane Tallent
Pat West
as Expressman
John Tyrrell
as Dopey
Eddy Chandler
as Plainclothes policeman
Pert Kelton
as Inmate
Carlie Taylor
Kit Guard
as Inmate
Belle Johnstone
Edward Hearn
as Court Attendant
Byron Foulger
as Kirby's Assistant
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
as Donald
Pierre Watkin
as Attorney
Sam Harris
as Diner
James Burke
as Detective
Dick Curtis
as Strong arm man
John Hamilton
as Diner
Russell Hicks
as Attorney
Chester Clute
as Hammond
Rosemary Theby
Ian Wolfe
as Kirby's Secretary
Edgar Dearing
as Plainclothes policeman
Edwin Maxwell
as Attorney
Walter Walker
as Mr. Leach
Laura Treadwell
as Mrs. Drake
Edward Keane
as Board member
Irving Bacon
as Henry
Eddie Kane
as Kirby's Attorney
Edward Keane
as Board member
Laura Treadwell
as Mrs. Drake
Joe Bordeaux
as Taxi Driver
Walter Walker
as Mr. Leach
Edgar Dearing
as Plainclothes policeman
Edwin Maxwell
as Attorney
Ian Wolfe
as Kirby's Secretary
Chester Clute
as Hammond
Russell Hicks
as Attorney
Vernon Dent
as Expressman
Gladys Blake
as Mary
John Hamilton
as Diner
Bruce Mitchell
as Policeman
Dick Curtis
as Strong arm man
James Burke
as Detective
Sam Harris
as Diner
Pierre Watkin
as Attorney
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
as Donald
Edward Hearn
as Court Attendant
Byron Foulger
as Kirby's Assistant
Boyd Irwin
as Attorney
Wallis Clark
as Hughes
Kit Guard
as Inmate
Margaret Mann
as Neighbor
Hilda Plowright
as Lady Melville
Dick Rush
as Bank Guard
Sidney D'Albrook
as Trustee
Pert Kelton
as Inmate
Eddy Chandler
as Plainclothes policeman
Eddy Chandler
as G-Man
Frank Shannon
as Mac
John Tyrrell
as Dopey
Pat West
as Expressman
Anne Cornwall
as Blakely's Secretary
Stanley Andrews
as Attorney
James Farley
as Police Sergeant
Doris Rankin
as Mrs. Leach
Lee Phelps
as Bailiff
Robert Greig
as Diner
James Flavin
as Jailer
Wedgewood Nowell
as Man
John Ince
as Neighbor
Ward Bond
as Detective
Edwin Stanley
as Executive
Bill Lally
as Reporter

Crew

Frank Capra
Director
Frank Capra
Producer
Moss Hart
Play Author
Robert Riskin
Screenwriter
Joseph Walker
Cinematographer
Dimitri Tiomkin
Composer (Music Score)
Morris W. Stoloff
Musical Direction/Supervision
Gene Havlick
Editor
Stephen Goosson
Art Director
Irene
Costume Designer
Edward Bernds
Sound Mixer
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