on September 8, 2005
My parents went to see this movie on their first date and soon after blended two large families together, much in the same manner as the Beardsleys and Norths. I am extremely grateful to the tellers of this story for inspiring my parents to marry, thus giving me the best mother in the world.
Though this is a comedy, and bits of it are truly hilarious, it is not overdone and focuses well on important family issues. Lucille Ball is very much not Lucy in this film, and is the perfect blend of serious and funny. Many of the younger actors are very recognizable despite their youth including Tim Matheson and Tracy Nelson who, due to her smile and other facial features, is easy to spot as the approximately three-year-old Jermaine.
The dual narration, assembly line lunch making, industrial laundry chores, military-like logistics for bathroom sharing, and grocery shopping for an apparent army are all interestingly staged. The movie also includes a nice variety of settings including the crowded house, bar, aircraft carrier, clinic, navel base, school, commissary, and hospital.
This is an uplifting family story and a wonderful Christmastime feel-good movie, though it is fun to watch all year round.
J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
on February 13, 2004
Having watched this movie when I was younger and having now on DVD I can only say that I still enjoy it. I have read those reviewers who complained about the disrespect shown towards the adults by the children. Perhaps they fail to realize that this movie is based upon a real story and real people but is also a comedy and face it, children being brats is more believable in a situation like this than being perfect angels. As a result the children act like real people and are not perfect. The movie shows them growing into the acceptance of each other and their new family until, at the end, they merge into one family. In truth this happened much earlier and both sets of children were all in favour of the wedding. However by keeping a bit of "controversy" it made for more fun in my opinion. One must also consider the time of the movie. The 1960's saw the Beattles, Flower Power, and Make Love Not War come into being. Children were testing their limits to a greater extent and certainly parts of the situations in the movie were to appeal to these people.
Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda are both excellent in their role as loving but harried parents trying to blend two families into one without going crazy. The ups and downs they have are played for fun but even so the feeling of a real family comes through. As parents, both are willing to give up their own feelings to help the other and their children. They present a good example of loving parents trying to adjust to life in a crowd of 18 children.
on January 2, 2004
Oddly enough, at the time I first watched and fell in love with this movie, I never once thought about its year-later predecessor "The Brady Bunch." I mention that because this story (based on a biography by the real Helen North Beardsley) is so good and surprisingly astringent in its parent/child portrayals, it stands completely on its own- and if it happened to spin off a much more sanitized TV series, more power to it. What a wonderful thing to put two veterans of film and TV in the lead roles; some reviews have taken pains to mention that Ball and Fonda are a little advanced in age, but my feeling is they look- and more importantly ACT- like parents of a large brood of kids should. It's only a bonus for me that they are presented in a love story that isn't about cynical, worldly 20-year olds for once. They are allowed to discover love the second time around and actually be nervous about it!! They look great together, and perform even better. The real gem of the film is in the smart dialogue: The first date where one asks the other "you DO like children, don't you?" and the other says "yeah- within reason!" is only matched with the realization that "eight and ten is-- ridiculous!!" The film's a charmer.
on April 27, 2003
One can set up a debate between a Jesuit priest supporting the sanctity of life and the secularist dedicated to worldwide birth control, but perhaps the message of the beauty and mystery and wonder of family would be better delivered by this comedy than by a recitation of the catechism. Henry Fonda's character is right: nothing new has been written since "Fanny Hill".
A reviewer wrote that she was disappointed at the children's disrespect toward the adults. But I thought the children's less than perfect behavior was essential to the film and the film's message. Yeah, having children, be it three or eighteen, is a burden. There's no guarantee they'll be grateful for the sacrifices you make for them or that they'll allow you to have any sort of life of your own. The children in the film are not angels. Few are. Indeed, I would argue they're rather normal, with the scales leaning heavily toward good. They're bratty, tender, difficult, warm, self-centered and giving. That's the beauty of life and humanity and it's more or less what Fonda tried to explain to Lucy's oldest daughter when she questioned him about sex. "You tell him that this is what it's all about."
Notice how the film places a certain amount of focus on Tim Matheson's character. Early on, he spikes Lucy's drink and then giggles as she humiliates herself. (Shades of the "Otter" character he would play ten years later.) But eventually he decides that she's not so bad - at about the time, not coincidentally, that he's becoming a man - then he accepts her and, being a natural leader like his father, persuades his siblings to elect her "our mother, for life".
That scene, indeed the whole film, would not have worked had the children been so unrealistically and quickly accepting of the stepmother. As it's played and as it's written, it comes off without the sense of being false or manipulative. Not an easy thing to do in film.
Without meaning any disrespect, I feel a certain amount of pity for the reviewer that grew up in Germany and wrote that they considered families of four or more "trash". (For the sake of Germany, I hope that's not true.) To each his own, I suppose. But if you can't appreciate this film and it's celebration of life and humanity, I'm not sure what you can enjoy. I will say that people that come from large families almost always laugh more than people that do not.
Still, I would not label "Yours, Mine and Hours" family values propaganda. Had that been the intention, there would not have been the classic drunk scene nor the part where a somewhat randy Fonda tells the parking valet, "Keep the motor running." I don't believe they were trying to do anything but tell a warm, funny story. They succeeded tremendously.
on June 28, 2004
I agree. I love this movie too but I will not buy an edited pan and scan DVD and that is why I opted instead to pop a video into my VCR and tape this movie when TCM was showing it in widescreen and wait and hope that MGM/UA will release a widescreen DVD because when it comes down to it I would much rather have this wonderful movie on a DVD then video but that will only happen if it's widescreen!
on June 1, 2004
This is a 4 star film reduced to 1 star because it's been butchered down from widescreen to standard screen for no reason whatsoever.
Heck, you NEED the vast viewing range of wonderful widescreen in this flick just to keep track of all those dang kids!
It was shot in widescreen in 1968, as were about 95% of all films made after 1953, so there's no excuse for chopping it down to this putrid pan-and-scan nightmare. Another Amazon reviewer (from Derby, CT) said it all about this ridiculous ripoff of an otherwise very cute movie:
"Great film but who wants to watch a film like this in pan and scan format. Listen up studios, WIDESCREEN, WIDESCREEN, WIDESCREEN!!!!"
on February 19, 2004
I wasn't really intending to write a review on this film, but when I saw another review with rather crude references to sterilization and how awful large families are, I just had to.
Having grown up in a large family myself, this is the kind of film that I feel at home watching. I am the oldest of six children, and while it was sometimes hectic--my gosh, was it fun! If I were married, I'm sure I would be having a large family, too.
I really loved the message of this movie. While Helen is in labor--"Dad, Dad! Mom says they're coming six minutes apart!"--her oldest daughter Colleen is agonizing over what to do about her boyfriend, who considers her old-fashioned and prudish. This is when Henry Fonda gives one of the best little speeches I have ever heard in the movies, about life and love. He basically says, "Until you're ready for this, [pregnancy] forget it."
In today's society, this message is sorely needed.
I remembered this movie from when I was younger. I always enjoyed Lucille Ball and her ability to act in "I Love Lucy" shows. So I decided to buy this movie and relive the fun. I guess my taste in movies has changed, because I found this one "ho-hum" this time around. If you really like old Lucille Ball movies, then you would probably like this one as well. I decided to buy the newer version and found it more to my liking.
on March 27, 2004
That's what my seven-year-old bellowed when she found the DVD! One late night when she was sick, we were searching for something acceptable and un-infomercially to watch and we found Yours Mine and Ours. Lucy looks great, as does Mr. Fonda, although I did find Van Johnson's eyes to be a bit weird (or maybe that's just me). If you watch closely you can catch little Tracy Nelson (Think snob/valley girl from Square Pegs w/Sarah Jess. Parker, and weird, visting sister on Melrose Place) And a very young Tim Matheson, playing, (I think the eldest) of too many children to count. There are some funny, and semi-mature scenes: Lucy gets drunk, and I mean DRUNK by accident,while having dinner at Henry's, Henry has a date with a "fast" woman, and there's a daughter being pressured by her Paul Newman-y boyfriend to [make love] (they even mention that he's Paul Newman-y in the movie!) But those scenes are quite tame and minor, compared to all the chaos and fun of bringing two groups of disgruntled kids together. The kids are great, but the movie is really Lucy and Henry's, as they try to keep it all together. The best way to sum it up is by simply saying Yours Mine and Ours is quite charming!
on March 13, 2003
This is a wonderful family film. You can let your guard down and enjoy a wonderful story about the blending of two large families. If the premise seems familiar-a widow and a widower marrying and uniting their two families-you are right. This film was washed down and turned into "The Brady Bunch."
Lucille Ball is impeccable. She has her timing down, and turn a scene upside-down with juts one look. In one scene, her future step-children one by one spike a screw-driver with whisky, scotch, and about everything else in the kitchen. She drinks, and Ms. Ball goes into one of her trademark dunk routines. This is one of her later films, so she has matured in her craft, even being drunk.
Henry Fonda is great as the gruff and stern old salt. His family has ten, so he is hurt and hit the hardest. He has to send the two youngest children away with his brother. I was surprised that he could do comedy. But, being second to Lucille Ball, he is the straight man.
The scenery is lovely. I am biased-it was filmed in my home town. You get wonderful glimpsed of the now closed Naval Air Station, and one of Alameda's best railroad mansions. It brings back memories.
This is a great family movie!