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I have to admit that I had trouble with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in the leads largely because they both were really too old to play their respective characters (Ball was about 57 at the time and Fonda about 63). In the end the film is so well done that I forgot about that. Aside from the film "Please Don't Eat the Daisies", this is probably the best family movie of the 60's. The best thing about the film is the realistic way in which the family blends together. The usual problems are all there and the way in which Fonda and Ball deal with it is about what one would expect, a certain amount of good intentions, a bit of mistake making, sacrifice, and providing a good deal of love and support. The writing may not be politically correct in this day and age (the scene where Fonda's kids get Ball drunk, Ball spanks one of the boys, and there is also a certain amount of gender stereotyping), but it is this that gives the film its appeal and relatability. As Leonard Maltin points out, look for a some well known faces in the supporting cast. Tom Bosley as the doctor, Tim Matheson as Mike, a four or five year old Tracey Nelson, Morgan Brittany of Dallas fame, 70's TV staple Ben Murphy as the oldest daughter's boyfriend, and well known child actor Eric Shea who gives an endearing performance as young Philip, the kid that seems the most lost in the big family. All in all Dad Fonda sums the whole thing up when he describes for the oldest daughter (who's being pressured by the boyfriend to have sex) what love is really about and how this family is staying together, "It isn't going to bed with a man that proves that you love him it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world that counts. I suppose having 19 kids is carrying it a bit too far, but if we had it to do all over again who would we skip, you?" And that is exactly what Helen and Frank are doing together, and the kids admire and respect them all the more for it.
"Yours Mine And Ours" is one of the best "family films" of the 1960s. (Very) loosely based on the real-life story of Helen North, a Navy widow with eight children, who married Navy career man Frank Beardsley, a widower with ten children of his own. Lucille Ball bought the rights to Mrs. Beardsley's book "Who Gets The Drumstick?", co- produced it, and took the starring role of Helen North. For those who know her chiefly as a comedienne, this film will be a pleasant surprise. For not only does she have the opportunity to indulge in some of the slapstick she is famous for, she proves conclusively that she was an excellent dramatic actress as well. Moreover, she can switch abruptly (and seemingly effortlessly) from comedy to pathos, sometimes in the same scene! Henry Fonda takes the part of Frank Beardsley and gives it both dimension and strength. As his bachelor friend, Van Johnson is a welcome presence, as is Tom Bosley as a sardonic doctor. There is also a hilarious performance from Louise Troy, as Frank's date early in the story. The kids are well cast and include future notables Tim Matheson, Suzanne Cupito (who grew up to be Morgan Brittany), Mitch Vogel and Tracy Nelson. A good deal of the plot involves the mutual dislike most of the kids have for their step-siblings, but a great deal of charm is present as well. Aiding the production is a nice score by Fred Karlin, a lovely song "It's A Sometimes World", and handsome San Francisco location photography. A remake has just been completed and will be released around the holiday season, but it's not likely to top this one. Incidentally, if you read the original book by Helen Beardsley, you will most likely come away with a far different picture of the Beardsley family, one which may not have transferred as well to the screen. This may also explain why there is no mention of the book as the story source in the movie's opening credits.
If I were asked what my favorite film of all time was, I would probably say
either "The Last Picture Show" or "Ordinary People," two films that I feel
are legitimate masterpieces. But if I were asked what my favorite film of
all time REALLY was, I'd have to say "Yours, Mine and Ours," which was one
of the first movies my parents ever took me to (along with a re-release of
"Swiss Family Robinson" and Steve McQueen's "Bullitt") as a five-year-old.
I've loved it my entire life, and I have to admit my affection for it hasn't
dimmed with age. Although I realize it's not one of the great masterpieces
of all time, and I would never rate it as high as say, "Show" or "People" or
"Casablanca" or "Schindler's List" for that matter, I still love this film
all the same.
I must admit that I am also a lifelong fan of "I Love Lucy," so the fact that "Yours, Mine and Ours" stars Lucille Ball certainly has something to do with my fondness for this film. And growing up in the '70's when co-star Henry Fonda was relegated to cameo roles in awful films like "The Swarm" and "Rollercoaster," if it hadn't have been for his charismatic and likeable performance here, I would never have known he was the great actor that he was. Add the pleasure of Lucille's longtime friend Van Johnson in the prime supporting role of Darryl, Fonda's best friend, and an extremely young Tim Matheson as Fonda's oldest son, and you have the foundation of an excellent cast in a lovely romantic comedy about the ultimate blended family (think "The Brady Bunch" with brains, and much, much larger to boot).
Very loosely based on a true story, Ball is Helen North, a recent widow with eight unruly children who moves to San Francisco for a fresh start. While working at the infirmary at an (unnamed) Naval base, she meets Naval Officer Frank Beardsley (Fonda, of course), who is a recent widower himself (with 10 children !) and has brought one of his daughters (Suzanne Cupito, aka '70's starlet Morgan Brittany) in for treatment. Helen and Frank are immediately smitten with each other and go out on a date, but immediately break it off when they realize how many children their combined family would contain. Darryl realizes that eighteen children aside, these two were made for each other and proceeds to plot to get them together. They do eventually marry and this sets up many amusing scenes of this huge family trying to blend in together.
The nice thing about this film is that for once Lucille Ball is allowed to play a character completely different from Lucy Ricardo or Lucy Carmichael (from "The Lucy Show"). She is intelligent, touching, funny and very, very human here. In only one scene does she do any kind of "Lucy" shtick, and that is during a wonderfully played drunk scene. Even then she doesn't resemble her daffy TV persona as much as, well a woman who's had too much to drink. And the chemistry between Ball and Fonda is so believable, as a child I found it hard to believe they were not really married in real life! Honest! Johnson gives wonderful support and Tom Bosley has a few amusing scenes as the family's exasperated doctor. I also loved the character of Madeline Love, who Darryl sets Frank up with on a disastrous date that ends with her riding home between Frank and Helen (who's been dumped by her Darryl-arranged date). Their discussion of their respective families ends with the hilarious exchange: Frank: "I'm glad I have ten children!" Helen: "I'm glad I have my eight!" Madeline: "And I'm glad I'm careful!"
All in all, this is an extremely enjoyable romantic comedy that grandkids can watch with their grandparents where everyone will be entertained and nobody will be embarassed. An added treat: laughing at the '60's styles and hairdoes, which look worse and worse with each passing decade. They just don't make them like this anymore. ***1/2 (out of *****)
This classic comedy features Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda reunited. Ball plays a widow with 8 children while Fonda plays a widower with 10 children. The two get married and try to unite the families as one. With 20 different personalities in one home, things get more than a little tough. There is one scene where one of Fonda's children spikes Lucille Ball's drink. She gets drunk and makes a fool of herself, much to the delight of the kids. I love that scene. Her runny makeup and slurring words are just hilarious! This movie has recently been the victim of a terrible remake starring Dennis Quade. If you found that entertaining in any way, you will love the original. It is a wonderful, funny movie that is safe for all ages. Enjoy!
I have always just loved this movie! I saw it as a teenager in the 60's, getting ready to go off to college and thought it was great fun at that time. Since I was a teenager, I remember really enjoying the character of Mike, played by Tim Matheson. I always thought he would go on to be a real big movie star instead of TV movies, since he had lots of charisma and maturity at that young age. However, he has done very well in the roles on television he has played and is always a real treat to watch. I don't think I thought Lucille Ball was too old the first time I saw it, because anyone over 25 seemed old to me at the time! I recently caught this movie on TV and enjoyed it again from an adult perspective. It was a little corny but still a good film. Life in the sixties even with Vietnam and all was a much more innocent time especially with what kids face today. I would give it a 100 just because it is so uplifting.
Lucille Ball has always been a favorite actress/comedienne of mine, and so this vehicle, Yours, Mine and Ours, was a good showcase for her talents. One year later, Florence Henderson was to "reprise" the same role in the Brady Bunch TV series. This movie has it over the Bradys hands down. When all of the kids that belonged to Henry Fonda's character met Lucille Balls' character for the first time, they got her drunk. Would never happen on the Brady Bunch. And all those kids! I think it was either 19 or 20! Much more responsibility in this combined household. Don't forget shopping day, with the caravan of shopping carts, I'm surprised collateral didn't have to be put up for the groceries. The idea here is that the sheer enormity of this situation makes it so hilarious, along with all the petty jealousies and conflicts inherent in all families, creates a movie that viewers can relate to on several levels. You don't need to have 20 kids to appreciate the film. The Brady Bunch seemed too perfect. The Norths and the Beardsleys had to put some tough love and effort into this to make it work, and this is reflected in Yours, Mine, and Ours. See it just for the fun of it. Look for Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham of Happy Days) as the family doctor. Great fun!
Not only is this perhaps my favorite movie of all time, but it has proved capable of attracting viewers much younger than myself (and in truth, I was not even born yet when this movie came out). My 2 and 11 year old daughters both enjoy this movie and will sit through it with me no matter how often I suggest it. In fact, my toddler asks for it by name at least once a week! I can't think of a single complaint, except perhaps to say that I envy those characters the simplicity of their lives. If only things were so simple today! And really, who can complain when it showcases a young Tim Matheson, giving us a glimpse of things to come (remember Animal House?)as well as a glimpse of the adorable Matheson sans shirt (his scene with Tom Bosley at the draft board physical is one of the funniest in the movie). One of my favorite things is watching this movie and looking at the faces of the kids, trying to see the adults they eventually became (Tracy Nelson at about age 3, Eric Shea was about 6 or 7, Morgan Brittany, who was a young teenager, and FYI to the person who commented about her appearances in the Old Navy ads: that was Morgan FAIRCHILD, NOT Morgan Brittany). And to those who complain incessantly about the ages of Ball and Fonda at the time the film was made, PLEASE! Get over it already! Half the fun of watching movies is being able to suspend disbelief for 2 hours. I think they looked awfully good, regardless of their "real" ages. This movie, once your kids get past their astonishment that people actually lived without 8 hours of TV a day, showed respect for their elders (most of the time), and got by without PlayStation 2 (!), is the perfect family movie. But oh, I wish 4 carts full of groceries still cost $126.63!! (Did anyone else notice that??) ***** out of *****
I saw this in the movies back in 1968, when it was first released (I was
about 5), and I've loved it since. Helen North (Lucy) is a widow with 8
kids, and Frank Beardsley (Fonda)is a navy captain with 10. They fall in
love, and of course, bedlam ensues as they try to unite two families. Oh
boy!!! Battling step-siblings, arguments over who gets which bedroom,
resentments toward the new step-parents, etc. It ends happily, though, with
the family pulling together to welcome the new baby (#19!) and learning to
love and live together as a happy family.
Lucy plays her role with wonderful, motherly warmth. You can actually see the love she has for each of those children, and her deep desire to have her new step-children love her. However - she does treat us to some delightful "Lucy"-ish antics. The scene in a crowded bar involving a wandering false eyelash and an uncooperative dress are absolutely classic - exactly the kind of comedy Lucy can do like no one else. And yet, these antics DO NOT dominate her performance or the film. They are just little "treats" thrown in every so often. Watch her expression, in the next to last scene, when Fonda's children tell her that she has been "adopted-as our mother, for life". Henry Fonda brings a nice, crisp authority to his role - it would have been easy to have made this man a caricature. A scene towards the end, where Lucy's oldest daughter turns to him for comfort and advice after dumping her oily boyfriend is lovely. Van Johnson has some good lines as Fonda's best friend. The kids are all very well cast, and included some "stars to be" - Tim Matheson, Tracy Nelson (she's one of the very youngest kids), Morgan Brittany (billed as Suzanne Cupito) and Eric Shea, better known as the "Robin" in POSEIDON ADVENTURE.
In all, a heartwarming film, with a strong emphasis on life, second chances, and a very positive spin on beauty and bond of family love.
YOURS, MINE, AND OURS reunites Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, who had
worked together in the 1942 B-film THE BIG STREET, the former a
heavy-handed drama making a contrast to this lightweight comedy.
Reminiscent of CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, the premise -- a man and woman,
both with a huge family, meet, fall in love, and marry -- would be
unbelievable if it weren't true.
Based on the autobiographical novel by Helen Eileen Beardsley, YOURS, MINES, AND OURS is a blueprint of sorts of future television shows "The Brady Bunch" and "Eight is Enough" but amps it up to eleven. While on those shows we never got to see just how a real household was handled (being situation programs, their stories were resolved in minimal time), here we get glimpses of what happens at dinnertime, or how groceries get done, and it's those trivial things that keep the charming story in check instead of throwing it into la-la land. Both Fonda and Ball are well-matched and have funny scenes together despite that both actors were a little too old for their characters, but it's not even a minor contrivance. Very enjoyable, witty, sunny: just what this kind of movie should be.
I worked with Helen Beardsley at a hospital in Fresno, CA in the early 80's. She was a nice woman with a take-charge attitude. (I think you have to have one when you are the mother of 19 children.) She used to live in an ocean-view house in the Carmel area, but then sold it to move to Fresno. We always kidded her about doing that; she said the weather was better inland. I think that she was proud of her book and movie. She sold the rights to her movie early on, before it achieved sort of cult-favorite status. She told me that she regretted doing that. I did not know that she died until I read it on this comment page. I was sorry to read that; she wasn't that old and she was a strong woman.
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