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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968) (Blu-ray)
Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968) (Blu-ray)
Olive Films // Unrated // September 13, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted September 22, 2016 | E-mail the Author

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Here's the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up threefour very lovely girls...and four boys. Recently-widowed Helen (Lucille Ball) is instantly taken with handsome Navy warrant officer Frank Beardsley (Henry Fonda) when they meet-cute at the commissary, but she'd love to get through at least one night out before breaking the news that she's the mother of eight children. Little does she know that Frank, himself a widower, has her beat: he's a father of ten and woefully out of his depth. Forget about the "...and they knew that it was much more than a hunch" part of the song; Helen and Frank both agree that this should be their first and last date. Eighteen kids between 'em? That'd be nuts! ...but, well, maybe "nuts" is just what the doctor ordered.

Based on the real-life North and Beardsley broods, Yours, Mine, and Ours was a colossal success when it roared into theaters in 1968, and it's not at all hard to see why. I love the way it shatters the fourth wall, with Frank and fellow Naval officer Darrel Harrison (Van Johnson) both staring directly into the camera and addressing the audience. It's neat to see how tightly the Navy is woven into this narrative, complete with spectacular shots of jets taking off and an aerial view of an aircraft carrier, with Henry Fonda sharing the frame all the while. The only way to successfully manage a household this massive is through discipline and organization, and there are some clever ways in which Frank draws from his Naval experiences to help with that. Yours, Mine, and Ours is wonderfully cast, as if you need more than Ball, Fonda, and Johnson's names on the bill to tell you that. The central romance is never less than convincing, and it's wonderful to see the two of them seek a relationship because that's what they truly want from one another rather than simply filling the role of mother or father. As many, many children as the film has to juggle, quite a few of them have distinct personalities and don't all blend together in a mush. It's a tricky balance, making younger characters precocious without being annoying, cute without being cloying, or approaching adulthood without sounding as if a fortysomething year old writer's voice is coming out of their mouths. Yours, Mine, and Ours strikes it brilliantly. (...and golly, what a scene stealer Eric Shea is!) I appreciate the way the kids try to derail any sort of relationship between Frank and Helen without coming across as mean-spirited villains. The film's sense of humor is warm and inviting, and, even all these decades later, it still had me in stitches. There's always a heck of a lot going on, from head-on collisions of blind dates to (repeatedly!) spiked drinks to rice fights to the Vietnam draft to sleazy boyfriends to cementing what it really means to be a family. Sometimes the topics are light, and sometimes they're extremely serious, but they're always handled with thought, consideration, and love. It also deftly touches on the subject of sex, in ways that will coax a knowing smirk from many viewers and go over the heads of those too young to appreciate those gags. Unlike the Beardsley's home, Yours, Mine, and Ours never feels overstuffed, and the pace is so brisk that I would never have guessed that its runtime approaches two hours in length.

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Yours, Mine, and Ours is a family comedy in every sense of the word...errr, words. I appreciate the (eventual, anyway) solidarity. This is a story about two families coming together as one, and crises make them stronger rather than threaten to tear them apart. Sweet, smart, chaotic in the best possible ways, and still packing a heckuva sense of humor nearly sixty years later, Yours, Mine, and Ours is making its long-overdue debut on Blu-ray courtesy of Olive Films. The movie itself is timeless, but this high definition presentation certainly shows its age. Still Highly Recommended, of course.

In a word: erratic.

There are moments when Yours, Mine, and Ours looks reasonably well-defined and nicely detailed. Its colors can be fairly bright and vivid, or at least as much as the film's production design would allow. This is the late '60s, after all, with all the earthen browns and oranges you'd expect.

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It goes without saying that shots with opticals degrade severely: a split-screen phone call, freeze-frames, optical zooms, wipes, a matted-in television screen. I'm not sure I've ever come across a film that used this many dissolves, and entire shots on either side of each transition are signficantly softer, lacking in fine detail, and saddled with duller colors as a result. Because of the staggering number of dissolves, a massive percentage of Yours, Mine, and Ours' nearly two hour runtime is affected. Beyond this, there's one stretch where the quality completely tumbles off a cliff; even the audio sounds significantly worse than the remainder of the film:

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Peppered with flecks of dust, it's not the most polished presentation, and film grain isn't resolved as well as I would've liked to have seen either. Color timing can be wildly uneven, particularly in the lead up to the finalé. There's a mad dash to get Helen out the door, and her bright green coat is a completely different hue in every shot. I'm guessing this is a master that MGM has had on the shelf for a long, long while, and the film would've benefitted from a fresh scan before being trotted out on Blu-ray. Still very watchable but disappointing just the same.

Yours, Mine, and Ours is lightly letterboxed to preserve its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and Olive Films has filled this single layer Blu-ray disc to the brim.

Presented in 24-bit, two-channel mono, this DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is somewhat uneven as well. The levels are surprisingly low, and I really had to crank up the volume for it to sound anywhere close to normal. The voiceover work is boxy and canned, although most of that is limited to the early moments of the film, and the dialogue recorded on-set fares quite a bit better. The bouncy, playful score sounds terrific, but the unexpected earworm of a title track comes across as so meek and timid by comparison. Around 36 minutes in, Yours, Mine, and Ours all of a sudden looks as if it had been shot on 16mm, and the audio is jarringly awash in reverb. This thankfully doesn't last too long. There are a couple of abrupt dropouts in the film's final moments, but because they correspond with cuts, I imagine that's the way Yours, Mine, and Ours may always have sounded. This lossless soundtrack doesn't hit the marks I'd hoped it would, but this lack of consistency doesn't meaningfully get in the way of my enjoyment of such a wonderful family comedy.

Also included is a set of optional English (SDH) subtitles.

The only extra is an upscaled trailer (4 min.).

The Final Word
Warm, extremely funny, smarter than you might think, and nutty in all the right ways, Yours, Mine, and Ours is a bear-hug of a family comedy. I wish its seemingly dated high definition presentation had aged as gracefully as the film itself, but Yours, Mine, and Ours is so wonderful that this Blu-ray release still comes Highly Recommended anyway.
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