It’s A Wonderful Life
During the month of October I recommended Halloween movies to view. For the next few weeks I will take a couple of days to recommend some Christmas movies. I will start with my all time favorite: It’s A Wonderful Life. This movie really fits the theme of this blog. It is a fantasy film with a time traveling angel. Yup, it fits!
For a time in the 80s and 90s this movie was played ad nauseum on TV due to wrinkles with the copyright issues. And just like eating too much cheese cake isn’t good for you, the over saturation of It’s A Wonderful Life had some back lash. It became ripe for parody and people actually got tired of it. With the copyright issues resolved the movie is shown only on NBC once a year and I think it can be better appreciated for the classic that it has become when it is treated as if it is special.
The movie came out in 1946 and was produced and directed by Frank Capra, and it was based on the short story “The Greatest Gift“, written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939, and privately published by the author in 1945. The movie stars the great Jummy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers. The movie was not very succesful at the box office. It had a budget of $3.1 million and only made $3.3 million. It also recieved mixed reviews from the critics, with some complaining that for a Holiday movie in the post World War II era, it was too dark with its themes of depression, deception and suicide attempts.
I will just briefly offer a plot synopsis because it is such a well known movie that I don’t feel the need to spend much time on the plot. The movie revolves around George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, who had great ambitions for his life that are never realized. Each time he is about to embark on his dream, life has other plans for him. When he hits a point of desperation his guardian angel Clarence, played by Henry Travers, shows him what life would have been like had he never been born. In the end George realizes that he has touched so many people and that he truly is blessed.
This movie resonates with me on many levels. It teaches me to remember to be grateful of the things I do have in life. It also teaches me that each and every one of us does touch the lives of others in ways we may not be aware of. It teaches me that close family and friends are indeed the real riches in this world.
I also have another personal reason for loving this movie. My mother, who grew up in the golden age of Hollywood and who gave me my love of movies, introduced me to this film. For a few years we watched this movie on Christmas Eve together. Then on Christmas Eve 1985 my mother passed away from cancer at the age of 60. I really came to value and cherrish those times. Then in 1988 I read about Jimmy Stewart when he had his 80th birthday and the article mentioned that he liked to answer his own fan mail. I sent him a letter telling him how much I enjoyed It’s A Wonderful Life and how it brings me fond memories of my mother who passed away on Christmas Eve. He sent me a nice hand written card in response and that is something I will always cherish too.
So take time this holiday season and watch a timeless holiday classic.
Oh, another neat thing is the movie is depicted as taking place near where I live. Bedford Falls is supposed to be a fictionalized version of Seneca Falls (bridge included) a town close to where I live in Upstate NY.
Posted on December 3, 2012, in Movie Recomendation and tagged Donna Reed, Frank Capra, Greatest Gift, Henry Travers, It's A Wonderful Life, Jummy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, World War II. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.