Tuesday, March 6, 2007

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

I know nothing new here, but after my favorite nemesis spouting the horrors of Pottersville and conversely how great Bedford Falls.
This is director Frank Capra's classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it's Christmas Eve, 1946, and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey's dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out. But first, Clarence is given a crash course on George's life, and the multitude of selfless acts he has performed: rescuing his younger brother from drowning, losing the hearing in his left ear in the process; enduring a beating rather than allow a grieving druggist (H.B. Warner) to deliver poison by mistake to an ailing child; foregoing college and a long-planned trip to Europe to keep the Bailey Building and Loan from letting its Depression-era customers down; and, most important, preventing town despot Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over Bedford Mills and reducing its inhabitants to penury. Along the way, George has married his childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed), who has stuck by him through thick and thin. But even the love of Mary and his children are insufficient when George, faced with an $8000 shortage in his books, becomes a likely candidate for prison thanks to the vengeful Potter. Bitterly, George declares that he wishes that he had never been born, and Clarence, hoping to teach George a lesson, shows him how different life would have been had he in fact never been born. After a nightmarish odyssey through a George Bailey-less Bedford Falls (now a glorified slum called Potterville), wherein none of his friends or family recognize him, George is made to realize how many lives he has touched, and helped, through his existence; and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakens to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life. Capra's first production through his newly-formed Liberty Films, It's a Wonderful Life lost money in its original run, when it was percieved as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life.

Yes, Bedford Falls is a great little town where the town drunk dispenses medicine while in a state of stupor. And then when he makes a mistake he takes it out by abusing his help that causes the child to bleed from his bad ear. Yes really great!

The movie begins on Christmas Eve as the multiple prayers of many people on Earth for a man named George Bailey are heard by beings in Heaven. In the heavens, Clarence Oddbody is told that he must help George Bailey in order to earn his wings. One of the higher-up angels, Joseph, begins to tell Clarence the story of George Bailey in order to prepare him for his mission. It's a Wonderful Life

Where sexual harassment of the Negro staff is allowed.
Destruction of personal property.
Keeping clothes from his lovely date when she was naked.

I don't how anyone can say a bank is not needed in a city. Banks are usually one of the most profitable businesses in a city. Even the loan to the cab driver on his house is backed by the value of the tangible asset and as the value increases in time in a prosperous town the house value will also go up. So the "capitalist" pig was not actually a capitalist.

Bedford Falls prevented George from obtaining a decent education that could better himself and society at large. Part of this was because his father failed to save for his own family.

It was nice the way that everyone in the family basically tramples on George especially when his brother gets married and his brothers bride has already a job set up for him when George was suppose to go to college.

Alcoholism and cigarettes flowed freely. And George is the biggest jerk with respect to Mary. "I don't want to get married!" Forgets his wife on his wedding day and spends all their honeymoon money on supporting the bank during a bank run.

From personal experience blocking the door to a business from people exiting is a big no-no. Considered improper arrest.

Why would a bank employee be in the customer area with $8000? And then need to get a stamp for the amount to deposit?

George has a temper that just goes wildly out of control when things don't go his way. Like when he yells at the teacher over the phone.

Now to Pottersville:
It was funny when the Angel tells George that an Angel gets his wings every time a bell rings when the cash register rings. Can you imagine how many Angels would get wings every day? Even Nick has fun creating more Angel wings.

Only Bedford Falls had the Emporium.

The other versions sound like they would have been good for a remake presently.
One version is the good George fights and wins against the bad George and kills him.
And another version he sees the world not as without a George but with a bad George if he lived his life differently.
But neither had Mr. Potter as a character.

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