Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)

Synopsis

"This story is taken from the real-life marriage of two people in the [late] 1960s. Helen North (Lucille Ball) is a widow with eight children who falls in love with Naval officer Frank Beardsley (Henry Fonda), a widower with ten children of his own. The two marry as comedy ensues from the sheer numbers and diverse age groups of the offspring. Narration is used in the first half of the film to help set the stage for the impending nuptials. Van Johnson is the mutual friend who brings the couple together. Tom Bosley plays the harried doctor who makes a house call and finds almost two dozen patients under one roof. The newlyweds are soon off to the hospital when Helen becomes pregnant with the couple's first child in this amusing family comedy." [Pavlides Dan] 


Cast
 
 
ACTOR/ACTRESS ROLE
Lucille Ball Helen North Beardsley
Henry Fonda Frank Beardsley
Van Johnson Warrant Officer Darrel Harrison
Louise Troy Madeline Love
Sidney Millek Dr. Ashford
Tom Bosley Family Doctor
Nancy Howard Nancy Beardsley
Walter Brooke Howard Beardsley
Tim Matheson Mike Beardsley
Gil Rogers Rusty
Nancy Roth Rosemary North
Gary Goetzman Greg Beardsley
Michele Tobin Veronical Beardsley
Tracy Nelson Germaine Beardsley
Stephanie Oliver Joan Beardsley
Jennifer Leak Colleen North
Kevin Burchett Nicky North
Kimberly Beck Janette North
Mitch Vogel Tommy North
Margot Jane Jean North
Eric Shea Phillip North
Greg Atkins Gerald North
Lynnell Atkins Teresa North

Lucy and Henry Fonda in Yours Mine and OursCredits

RUNNING TIME
    111m's

YEAR OF RELEASE
    1968

STUDIOS
    United Artists
    Desilu

COLOR/BW
    Color

DIRECTOR
    Melville Shavelson

WRITERS
    Mort Lachman
    Melville Shavelson
    Bob Carroll Jr.
    Madelyn Davis

CINEMATOGRAPHER
    Charles F. Wheeler

MUSIC
    Fred Karlin

FILM EDITING
    Stuart Gilmore

PRODUCER
    Robert F. Blumofe

ART DIRECTOR
    Arthur Lonergan

SET DECORATOR
    James Payne 


Notes

In 1961, Lucy remembered Desilu first buying The Beardsley Story (as it was then known) as a Lucy-Desi movie in 1959.

In December 1962, Lucy was coming off the heels of her divorce from Desi and the only semi-successful Wildcat.  With her Broadway career aborted, Lucy decided to concentrate on her film career.  She had, after all, only made three films since The Magic Carpet in 1951.  So she decided to come back to Desilu in this family-comedy, then titled Full House.  The film would be written by Lucy scribes Madelyn Pugh Martin and Bob Carroll, Jr. and would concern the true story of the Beardsley family, a widow with eight children who married a widower with ten.

Desilu, however, was not in the best of financial conditions at this point and Desi told Lucy the company needed her to return to series television.  And so, The Lucy Show began production in 1962 and was immediatley a major success.  Because of this, however, it was announcd Full House (now titled The Beardsley Story again) would postpone filming until the summer hiatus of 1963.  At this point, no leading man had been chosen, but Lucy said she'd like Jimmy Stewart or Fred MacMurray (My  Three Sons) as her co-star.

Production, however, was again postponed indeffinitley when Lucy's 1963 comedy with Bob Hope, Critic's Choice, flopped at the box office.  Instead, Lucy took a Hawaiian vacation during her 1963 summer hiatus.

The film hit another bump when Lucy had a falling out with long time writers Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Martin.  She threw out their version of the script and comissioned Leonard Spigelgass (who wrote The Big Street in 1941) to write a new version to begin production in the summer of 1965.

In August 1965, Lucy (now President of Desilu) announced plans to launch Desilu "family-type" feature films.  The plan was for fifteen different films to be produced in the next three years, with a budget of $750,000.  The first of these was supposed to be The Beardsley Story, with Jackie Gleason or Art Carney as her co-star.  The film had now been in pre-production since 1961.

A little more than a year later, The Beardsley Story finally seemed to be on the right track.  United Artists had recently entered into a deal with producer Robert F. Blumofe to produce feature films, and the company had commited to the financing and distribution of the film.  Lucy now decided she wanted Jackie Gleason, Art Carney or John Wayne to play Mr. Beardsley.  The movie would be filmed by Desilu in the summer of 1967.  All the previous screenplays, Blumofe said, had been too I Love Lucy-ish, so he approached Mickey Rudin and Bernie Weitzman too develop the screenplay into a good movie.  But this too was deemed too similar to Lucy's television work, and so Mel Shavelson, who knew film comedy, was asked to write.  United Artists, however, was growing weary of never having a script, and they told Lucy and Blumofe they had to wave script approval.  Lucy finally agreed.

Yours, Mine and Ours 1986 SoundtrackFinally, in summer 1967, Lucy began production on Yours, Mine and Ours.  The film had been called The Beardsley Story, Full House and His, Hers and Theirs but now they had a title, a script and a leading man.  Henry Fonda, who had worked with Lucy on RKO's The Big Street in 1941, called Robert Blumofe from New York, and said he was interested in playing the male lead.  Both the producer and Lucy agreed he would be wonderful in the role, and he was signed.  Mel Shavelson had brought in Bob Hope's top writer, Mort Lachman, and in six weeks the pair had written a screenplay good enough not to need any changes.

Lucy, at one point, wanted her children, Lucie and Desi Jr., to act in the film, but Shavelson told her no, because he did not want it to become a family affair.

At first, Lucy didn't want to do the famous drunk scene in which Fonda's children spike her drink.  She didn't think she could do it.  But Shavelson told her he thought she could, and she filmed the whole thing in one take, with almost no outside direction.

Lucy's age presented a considerable problem for the film's cameraman.  As Mel Shavelson said in Desilu, the 56-year-old Lucy, who was portraying a woman about 40, was not easy to photograph.  "She had a basic lighting Yours, Mine and Ours Videotape Coverproblem, and she knew it, and she knew a great deal about her lighting.  You had to frontlight her and photograph her from the front so that the wrinkles did not show.  Lucy's skin had gone to pieces because of the years and years of makeup.  It took not only time to light her, but also care to shoot a scene so that she was not shown from an unflattering angle."  They did a good job, however, because many people later commented they thought the film had been made during her I Love Lucy years.  Lucy did not have any special lighting during the promotional tour for Yours, Mine and Ours and one little girl came up to her and said "Lucy, what happened to your face?"  It hurt Lucy deeply, and she couldn't talk to anyone for the rest of that day.

When the film finally opened in 1968, it was a huge critical and box office success.  The film ended up costing only $1,700,000 and it became one of the top-grossing films of the year, and United Artists' highest-grossing film of 1968.

An LP soundtrack for Yours, Mine and Ours was released in 1986 by MCA Classics Soundtracks (see picture above).

Yours, Mine and Ours is available on videotape from MGM Home Video (#201702).  You can buy the video online from Ted's Lucille Ball Bookstore (in association with Amazon.com).  Click here to order.


Reviews

".  For once, a wholesome 'family' picture with some intelligent scripting.  ...Lucy's drunk scene is a delight in warm, well-made comedy." [Leonard Maltin]


Lucy's Fans Speak

"I've always thought this was one of Lucy's best films.  She and Henry Fonda are wonderful together (as they were in The Big Street) and the children are cute.  The script is great, but not overly cutesy, as some films of this genre are." - Ted Nesi

"I love this movie! It is great! Lucy and Henry Fonda were very good in it. This is my [second favorite] Lucy movie. I have this movie on tape and I keep watching it over and over." - Jessica

"This movie had been one of my favorite movies for years. I enjoyed watching it often and understood what the actions were produced and shown with funny actions. It was the greatest [film] of the 1960's and Lucy did a great job with her own actions. She was a great actress and I had been a big fan of hers for years." - Vivian Blanco

"Yours, Mine, and Ours is one of the best Lucy movies I've seen. The drunk scene (where the children spike her drink), shows off her many acting talents." - Erin

"Yours, Mine and Ours was a wonderful movie....I watch it every time its on TV.  Its one of a kind.  I give it four stars." - Ben

"Great!" - Anonymous

"I think this movie is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.  Lucille Ball surely proves that she is the Queen of Comedy.  I love her." - Adam Wishman


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