Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Cinema Spotlight: It's a Wonderful Life

"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)

This is an honest to goodness classic. I have a short list of films that I think are as close to cinematic perfection as possible and this is one of them.

It has become a staple during the Holiday season but years ago it was actually considered a flop! Can you imagine that!!??

It is a simple story really--involved love, faith, courage, goodness, family, friendship, and oh so much more. Did I say simple? Okay, those topics i just mentioned are not considered simple ones to many people but then again people tend to complicate things and make much more work for themselves.

"It's a Wonderful Life" Trailer-also starring Donna Reed

The story follows George Bailey who is played by the outstanding James Stewart. When I think of all the talented men of Old Hollywood, the one who always stands out as being a true gentlemen is Jimmy Stewart.

On Christmas Eve George Bailey decides to commit suicide but jumping over a bridge. We don't know why yet but you quickly feel empathy for his character. You begin to wonder what his story is. Before he is able to jump, another man jumps and falls into the cold winter water. George immediately jumps in after him and saves his life. We then find out his name is Clarence, Clarence Odbody who is played by Henry Travers.

Clarence is George's guardian angel and in order to get his wings up in heaven, he must help George. So they both go on an incredible adventure into George's past but here's the kicker----George has never existed! Much to his shock and disbelief, George goes along with Clarence. Each step they took together led George into understanding that what he really had was a WONDERFUL LIFE.

The grand final scene of, "It's a Wonderful Life"

When I was a teacher I was shocked to hear that about 99% of my students never heard of this film. It made me sad and then it made me angry because it doesn't take much to watch a classic film or to try something new. I think most young people think films from the 1980's are classic! *sigh* I know I am introducing my children to as much of this as possible-its good stuff! And yes, as much as I could, I would show this film to my students during Christmastime. They loved it to bits! I hope it inspired them to give classic film a try!

"It's a Wonderful Life" teaches us that friendship is valuable and worth more than money. It teaches us to keep our dreams alive even if we are never meant to make them come true in our lifetimes. It teaches us to have faith in ourselves and in the people we love and admire. It also teaches us to get to the good parts of life we at times may have to endure the bad and the ugly parts as well.

I cherish this film. I cherish the gift that director Frank Capra gave to us. A film with a positive message, with an uplifting message, a film that in my eyes does not age--not at all--because the message is ageless. Love and Faith....two precious treasures that we can give to others and that others can give to us. But most importantly, they are two gifts we can give to ourselves.



  1. I LOVE It's a Wonderful Life. One of my very favorite classic Christmas movies.

    I too was surprised that more students hadn't heard of that movie. But then again, now days most kids don't watch classics, which is a downright shame. I've always preferred the classics from the 30's and 40's the most, even when I was a teenager years and years ago! I was quite the oddity in high school lol!

  2. Youre not alone-I was quite an oddity too. My grandmother and parents raised me very old fashioned so I was into things most girls my age weren't LOL I'm so glad you love this movie too-its one of kind for sure!! xox


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