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You Can't Take It with You (1938) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • The stenographer Alice Sycamore is in love with her boss Tony Kirby, who is the vice-president of the powerful company owned by his greedy father Anthony P. Kirby. Kirby Sr. is dealing a monopoly in the trade of weapons, and needs to buy one last house in a twelve block area owned by Alice's grandparent Martin Vanderhof. However, Martin is the patriarch of an anarchic and eccentric family where the members do not care for money but for having fun and making friends. When Tony proposes Alice, she states that it would be mandatory to introduce her simple and lunatic family to the snobbish Kirbys, and Tone decides to visit Alice with his parents one day before the scheduled. There is an inevitable clash of classes and lifestyles, the Kirbys spurn the Sycamores and Alice breaks with Tony, changing the lives of the Kirby family.

    - Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Tony Kirby Jr., vice president of Kirby & Company, and his stenographer, Alice Sycamore, are in love with each other and want to get married. They both realize that a major problem in doing so is the incompatibility of their respective families. Tony's father, the company's owner and president Anthony P. Kirby, is a cutthroat businessman who doesn't care who he steps on to earn the almighty dollar, the amount of which being how he measures his worth and the worth of others. Tony's mother is a pretentious snob. Both his parents openly but quietly disapprove of the union. Alice's extended family, on the other hand, are an eccentric lot. They all have a "do whatever you want to do because you like doing it" mentality, which was initially fostered by the family patriarch, Alice's maternal grandfather, Martin Vanderhof, in whose house they all live. With the exception of Alice, they are somewhat blissfully unaware that their lives are unconventional. However, their attitude of openness and inclusion has reaped them the rewards of a multitude of unconditional friends, some who live with them solely because they came one day, liked what they saw, were welcomed with open arms, and have never left. Tony and Alice want to deal with the incompatibility issue head on, although they both take differing paths in how to deal with it. Another problem is that A.P. Kirby is working on the biggest deal of his career - cornering the munitions market, especially lucrative in the lead up to probable war - that requires a massive land acquisition, which includes Grandpa Vanderhof's house, he who refuses to sell. Grandpa is unaware of who wants to buy his house, while A.P. is unaware that Grandpa is the one hold out who could ruin his entire plan.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Alice Sycamore has to introduce the family of her fiance, Tony Kirby, to her own family. The Kirby's are wealthy, stuffy family of great self- importance, while the Sycamore's are a collection of good-hearted lunatics. When the two families come together, lifestyle and philosophy collide head-on.

    - Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>
  • Tycoon Anthony P. Kirby fully expects that his son Tony will follow in his footsteps, but Tony's only real interest is in his secretary and fiancĂ©e Alice. His parents are appalled that he wants to marry a stenographer but to humour him agree to dine with her family. This is doomed from the start, as they are a collection of free spirits with little visible means of support presided over by Alice's wise grandfather. It also turns out that buying their house is key to Tony Snr's latest mega-project.

    - Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}
  • Alice Sycamore, the only normal person from a zany family falls in love with her boss, Tony Kirby, but the relation breaks up, when during a dinner at her home, the house is raided by the police and everyone is arrested on suspicion of anarchism.

    - Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>
  • A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

    - Written by L. Hamre

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