Yours, Mine and Ours
Think Mike and Carol Brady had a tough time of it, blending their families and dealing with six kids? Please. Compared to what Helen North (Lucille Ball) and Frank Beardsley (Henry Fonda) go through in Yours, Mine and Ours, life in the Brady household was a piece of cake. Heck, they even had a live-in housekeeper! There's nary an Alice to be seen once the Norths Helen and her eight children join forces with Frank and his brood of ten. Nope, all the North-Beardsleys have to rely on is Navy captain Frank's shipboard-precise system for running a household. And it works... most of the time. Based on a true story, this warmhearted 1968 comedy about a widow and a widower who meet, fall in love, and find out they have a lot more than they bargained for in common, is one of those meandering, slice-of-life films they (pardon the cliché) just don't make anymore. Filled with charming, tender vignettes about the challenges of raising children and running a family, as well as the ups and downs of falling in love with someone who has quite a bit of baggage, Yours, Mine and Ours is an interesting mix of modernity and old-fashioned "family values." On the one hand, it was ahead of the curve in dealing with the oh-so-'90s issue of blending two families together. And the fact that it was made in the swingin' '60s is apparent in the way Frank and Helen are matter-of-fact about talking to eldest daughter Colleen about what her boyfriend really wants. But on the other hand, Helen spanks her kids when they're naughty, and Colleen is a good girl who winds up saying no. Yours, Mine and Ours benefits from a talented cast sure, some of the kids over-act, but for the most part, everyone does a great job. Ball plays Helen as a smart, savvy, nurturing mom, but she still gets to have a few "Lucy" moments, most notably when she loses her fake eyelashes and her slip in a crowded bar and when she winds up drunk while meeting Frank's children. Fonda is appealing and real as Frank, a man who wants to keep his children happy but doesn't quite know how (until he meets Helen, that is). Among the children, Eric Shea is Dennis the Menace-cute as towheaded Philip, and a very young Tim Matheson (A Very Brady Sequel) is good as angst-ridden teenager Mike. Van Johnson pops up to do one of the cynical-sidekick performances he's so good at as Frank's best friend Darrel, and Tom Bosley gets some laughs as the sarcastic family doctor. MGM's full-screen DVD version of the movie looks good; the colors are bright, and the transfer is clear. The only extra on the disc is the theatrical trailer; other features include scene selection and language options mono English, French, and Spanish tracks, as well as French and Spanish subtitles. Keep-case.