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MGM Studios DVD presents
Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)

"Eight children? Wait 'til you hear what I have to tell you. I have TEN children!"
- Frank Beardsley (Henry Fonda)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: March 05, 2001

Stars: Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball
Other Stars: Tim Matheson, Van Johnson, Tom Bosley
Director: Melville Shavelson

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language, sexual humor)
Run Time: 01h:51m:22s
Release Date: March 06, 2001
UPC: 027616859167
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+D+B- D-

DVD Review

Yours, Mine and Ours was based on Helen Eileen Beardsley's autobiographical book, Who Gets the Drumsticks? The movie stars Henry Fonda as Frank Beardsley, a widower with ten children, and Lucille Ball as Helen North, a widow with eight children of her own. (Dang those Brady Bunch references, stuck in my head lo these many years!) After meeting, dating and deciding there's no way a serious relationship could work, Frank and Helen find themselves sliding unavoidably into love. Hilarity ensues as the logistics of merging their families into an even larger one threaten to destroy everyone involved.

This 1968 film is one of those light comedies based on an easy-to-sell concept, the sort of story intended to appeal to all ages in safe, content-free fashion. Fortunately, the film rises above its Disney-esque concept, thanks to some sharp comic touches and solid performances. Henry Fonda is affable and warm, a Navy officer whose sense of order and discipline help keep his family together, without limiting his sensitivity as a father. Lucille Ball gets to play a competent, loving woman and mother, while still pulling off some hilarious, quintessentially "Lucy" moments involving false eyelashes and a heavily spiked drink. The kids (including a young Tim Matheson, billed here as Tim Matthieson) are neither angels nor devils, but real kids who fight, make bad decisions, and whine, even as they find common ground with their new brothers and sisters.

The generally carefree tone is leavened by some moderately adult content, consisting primarily of mild sexual innuendoes between Ball and Fonda and family issues related to the older daughters' maturation. And many of the small moments are laugh-out-loud funny in a truthful, human way, eschewing sitcom cliché and slapstick. Fonda's inability to find a housekeeper who can deal with his kids, Ball's conflicts with the nun teaching her young son Phillip (Eric Shea), and the kids' general resentment of their new family circumstances provide rich and credible ground for comedy. The first act even makes some astute observations about male/female differences, without stooping to facile sexism.

Yours, Mine and Ours isn't a masterpiece, but it's much better than one might assume. Family-friendly (PG at most) and honest at its core, it's a pleasant diversion that makes a few worthwhile points along the way.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Unfortunately, MGM has classified Yours, Mine and Ours as a "family" title, which in the studio's eyes makes a pan-and-scan full-frame transfer appropriate. Many shots suffer from the cropping of the film's original aspect ratio (apparently 1.85:1), with characters partly offscreen while speaking and other visual anomalies. The source print exhibits some damage and visible reel-change markers, but the image quality is otherwise passable with good color and relatively solid detail. After years of enduring this fun little movie in pan-and-scan format on television, I had hoped to see a proper presentation on DVD - this 2001 release is very disappointing.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: MGM provides good language support on this disc, with Dolby Digital 2.0 monophonic tracks in English, French and Spanish (ProLogic-decoded to the center speaker). The audio is clearly dated, with clipped-sounding dialogue and slightly shrill music. The English and French digital transfers sound fairly clean otherwise, though the Spanish track suffers from excessive hiss. Oddly, the Spanish track features many additional music cues unheard on the other tracks, generally of a "bouncy" comedic nature. All three tracks are listenable, but some cleanup would have been a nice touch.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The Yours, Mine and Ours DVD is a bare-bones affair, with 16 picture-menu chapter stops, subtitles in French and Spanish (not "dubtitles," fortunately), and the film's original theatrical trailer in 1.33:1 with hissy, crackly audio.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Yours, Mine and Ours is a cheerful family comedy that manages to treat its subject naturalistically while still allowing for some very funny moments. MGM's DVD is unfortunately a pan-and-scan presentation, which makes the disc hard to recommend. It's not likely to be revisited any time soon, but seems more suited for rental in its present form.


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