You wouldn't know it from watching this new version of the story, but there really was a widow with eight children named Helen North, and a widower with ten children named Frank Beardsley, and they really did marry each other. They even went on to have one more child together. Helen wrote a book about their experiences managing a family of 21, called Who Gets the Drumstick?, and it became a 1968 film called Yours, Mine and Ours, starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. That film is sometimes credited with inspiring The Brady Bunch, which premiered the following year; but this new version is more of a follower than a leader, since it was almost certainly produced to capitalize on the success a couple years ago of Cheaper by the Dozen, a large-family comedy which itself was a remake of a 1950 movie, and which will be back in the form of a sequel just four weeks from now.
So many large-family movies, so little time. Perhaps they should merge into one big super-duper-extended family. Or maybe the two franchises should have a showdown. We've had Freddy vs. Jason and Alien vs. Predator. Maybe it's time for a Bakers vs. Beardsleys movie?
Anyway, the original Yours, Mine and Ours no doubt took its own movie-ish liberties with the facts. But it at least recognized that the story of Helen and Frank and their combined offspring was the story of a conservative family that stood out in a culture of increasing sexual liberalism. In fact, the first part of the 1968 edition is so riddled with innuendo, you might wonder if it deserves the tag "family film." Helen and Frank, both hitting the dating scene for the first time in decades, are distinctly uncomfortable with the voracious sexuality of the 1960s; but the film reaches its thematic climax ...1
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Yours, Mine & Ours
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