Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)
Reviewed on 2008 September 4
Dated, but still funny and somewhat overwhelming-to-watch adaptation of a true story. Helen Eileen Beardsley wrote a book about her enormous blended family called Who Gets the Drumstick?, and here’s how Desilu Productions interpreted it.
Life-long Navy man Frank Beardsley (Henry Fonda) is a widower with ten children, and his tough shell doesn’t hide his love for his children, or how much he misses his wife. He can’t think of too many women that would be willing to take on his clan, so he immerses himself in his career. In a scene that pretty much shows they’re made for each other, he runs into Helen North (Ball), a widow with eight children of her own. After a tentative first date they decide there’s just no way that two people with that many children between them can pull it off, but a friend, Warrant Officer Darrel Harrison (Van Johnson), knows they’re a perfect fit. He arranges for them to meet again.
Once Frank and Helen decide to forge ahead, the rest of the movie is watching the rest of their families adapt. It’s heartwarming, even if a little bit of it is too syrupy; but it’s entertaining, and from what I read, fairly faithful to the real story. I thought Lucille Ball looked too amazing to have all those children, until I saw a photograph of the real Helen. (That woman must have been made of Silly Putty® to snap back in shape like that.) Tom Bosley has a great bit as a jaded doctor. I thought there was something in it that anybody could relate to: romantics will just be happy for the couple, and people impressed with organization and efficiency with marvel at how the family dealt with the day-to-day stuff. (Loved the laundry scene.) Property geeks will just drool over that house.
Two chocolate morsels and a scotch, hopefully mixed by just one person.