Thanks to an unusually eclectic set of parents, I was raised on classic cinema- my father always said that he knew he had acculturated me correctly because I was the only kid my age who knew who Spring Byington was. Of all the great movies we watched, I always favored Frank Capra’s. The themes were all different, but had a certain commonality of the Little Guy rising despite the entrenched forces of corruption. His vision of America is one that I came to adopt, a place where opportunity was there for those willing to grab it, a vision informed by his own experiences as a penniless immigrant who rose to the top of Hollywood through sheer effort and skill.
Fortunately, SP shares my taste for old movies, and when we were poking around Amazon a few nights ago, she came across the wonderful You Can’t Take It With You, which she hadn’t seen in… let’s say a long time. It featured a very typical Capra cast: a young Jimmy Stewart, the always hot Jean Arthur, crusty and foreboding Edward Arnold, flighty and dance-y Ann Miller (15 years old, playing a 20-something), avuncular Lionel Barrymore, and of course, a dotty Spring Byington. Fun extra feature: a very young Dub Taylor playing the xylophone. Another bonus: if you want to see where Michael Richards got the Kramer character from, look at Mischa Auer’s Kolenkhov.
In any case, one memorable scene had us high-fiveing in delight, something that reflected our own beliefs (and those of many of you) perfectly. And it even had Charles Lane, a Jew from Milwaukee who made a great career of always playing the same WASP-y character. So, with no further ado, the perfect Frank Capra analysis of taxes, as explicated by Barrymore and Lane. Have a fun April 15 (yes, yes, I know, the 17th this year)!
Taxation Is Theft, and Fuck Off, Slaver!