Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball star in the family comedy YOURS, MINE AND OURS (1968), released on DVD and Blu-ray last week by Olive Films.
I've seen the movie a number of times over the years, and the good-looking Blu-ray edition made revisiting the film a particularly enjoyable experience.
Growing up I enjoyed numerous books and movies inspired by true stories about large families, such as CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950), ROOM FOR ONE MORE, or THE FAMILY NOBODY WANTED, to name just a few.
YOURS, MINE AND OURS is another story in that vein, based on Helen (North) Beardsley's book WHO GETS THE DRUMSTICK? Helen North was a widow with eight children who married Frank Beardsley, a widower with ten children. They went on to have two children together, though only one is shown in the film.
Fonda and Ball star as the Beardsleys. The film was a reunion for the actors, who had starred in THE BIG STREET in 1942. They're pros, of course, although I must say I really noticed this time around they were getting on in years to be playing these roles; according to his obituary, Frank was 45 when they married. Helen was 31. Fonda and Ball were...let's just say not 45 and 31!
YOURS, MINE AND OURS is a highly watchable if imperfect movie. It's hard not being entertained by a couple trying to work out a relationship while surrounded by 18 children and the attendant challenges of raising them, plus Van Johnson adds some wry humor as Fonda's best friend.
At the same time, the film has moments of exasperating silliness and at times verges on the crass. That said, despite the fact that it's a flawed film it's drawn me back to rewatch it multiple times over the past decades, a testimonial to the film's staying power. Viewers who like the actors or share my enjoyment of "big family" stories will probably enjoy it as well.
The most recognizable children and teens in the cast are Morgan Brittany (billed Suzanne Cupito), Kimberly Beck, Tim Matheson, and a very young Tracy Nelson. Some of the other children, including Mitch Vogel, Eric Shea, and Michelle Tobin, were familiar episodic TV faces "back in the day." The cast also includes Tom Bosley as the family doctor and Ben Murphy as a boyfriend.
Melville Shavelson, who was also one of several people who worked on the script. It was filmed by Charles F. Wheeler. The movie runs 111 minutes.
Incidentally, I've not seen the 2005 remake with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, but understand it changed the story and characters considerably.
As a postscript, one of Helen's children has written a book alleging that reality was a far cry from that portrayed in his mother's book and in the movie.
I own the previous MGM DVD which was released a number of years ago, and the widescreen Olive Films Blu-ray is a nice step up from that older fullscreen-only DVD. I put the DVD in the player for a quick comparison of a few scenes; the fullscreen version of the 1.85 film isn't as bad as one might anticipate, but the new widescreen print is definitely more desirable, whether it's a shot of an aircraft carrier or a gazillion children crowding into a kitchen. The Blu-ray also has a noticeably crisper picture.
The Blu-ray includes the trailer.
Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.