Author Topic: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)  (Read 4353 times)

Offline Antares

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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« on: November 05, 2010, 12:05:22 AM »
It's a Wonderful Life





Year: 1946
Film Studio: Republic Pictures, Liberty Films
Genre: Drama, Family, Classic
Length: 130 Min.

Director
Frank Capra (1897)

Writing
Frances Goodrich (1890)...Screenwriter
Albert Hackett (1900)...Screenwriter
Frank Capra (1897)...Screenwriter
Philip Van Doren Stern (1900)...Story By

Producer
Frank Capra (1897)

Cinematographer
Joseph F. Biroc (1903)
Joseph Walker (1892)

Music


Stars
James Stewart (1908) as George Bailey
Donna Reed (1921) as Mary Hatch
Lionel Barrymore (1878) as Mr. Potter
Thomas Mitchell (1892) as Uncle Billy
Henry Travers (1874) as Clarence
Beulah Bondi (1888) as Mrs. Bailey
Frank Faylen (1905) as Ernie
Ward Bond (1903) as Bert

Review
       At the time of its release, Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life was derided by critics as being out of touch with mainstream life in America, and an antiquated form of filmmaking. In the aftermath of World War II and the atrocities of which were just coming to light, this films message seemed out of date with the general movie public. Although most people in this country would hark back to the simpler times portrayed in this film, the overall response for this movie was lukewarm at best. The results would be a poor showing at the box office and the tag of ‘Capra Corn’ affixed to this films legacy.

      Forty years later with the advent of cable television and the films entry into the public domain, it was once again derided for its overexposure to mainstream audiences. I myself had relegated it to a position of obscurity in my collection by purchasing it on DVD and for two years never viewing it. Then one night in a moment of inner turmoil, as I was thumbing through my collection to find the film that would help me escape, I selected this film. It was a most fortunate choice, for it would re-awaken me to the fact that this is one of the truly great films in the history of cinema.

      Four years of making patriotic propaganda films for the government had left Frank Capra with a desire to turn back the hands of time, and remind the country of the moral values which had forged our nation and for which some of our countrymen had made the ultimate sacrifice. It's now sad to think that this message is deemed as archaic by the cynical and media blitzed public of today.

       We may never be able to go back to the times and values portrayed in this film, but we can still dream and hope. For when a country fails to dream of better times and loses its desire to hope for a light at the end of the tunnel, it ceases to be. We all can learn from the message in this film.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2010, 12:39:50 AM »
Excellent review Antares. Being a huge Jimmy Stewart fan I decided to get this on DVD a number of years back. To be honest I wasn't that impressed by upon my first viewing.
Then last year on the afternoon of Christmas Eve I decided to watch it again. This time it was like watching it again for the first time, I absolutely loved it. I still find it hard to put in words how I feel about it. It almost has a magical quality. It makes you feel genuinely happy and gives a profound sense of appreciation of what you have in life, no matter how little.

Offline Antares

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2010, 12:43:27 AM »
Even though his part isn't as big, you should check out You Can't Take It with You (1938).

First rate Frank Capra.  :thumbup:

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2010, 12:48:10 AM »
That one sounds good, I add it to the list. I've only seen to Capra films, Mr Smith Goes To Washington and of course It's a Wonderful Life.

Offline Antares

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 12:56:25 AM »
That one sounds good, I add it to the list. I've only seen to Capra films, Mr Smith Goes To Washington and of course It's a Wonderful Life.

Here's a few more worth checking out...

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

It Happened One Night (1934)

And for a great Jimmy Stewart film...

Harvey (1950)

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2010, 01:01:57 AM »
I seen Harvey, wonderful movie. I love the scene when Elwood is outside the bar telling the story of how he first met Harvey to the doctor and nurse.

hal9g

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 03:32:13 AM »
Couldn't agree with you assessment more, Antares.   :thumbsup:

I have watched this movie every year as part of a Christmas tradition (including Miracle on 34th Street, The Bishop's Wife, A Christmas Carol (1951), Christmas in Connecticut, Pocketful of Miracles, Santa Clause and White Christmas among others).

Aside from the stupendous performance of Jimmy Stewart who is truly torn between his dreams and his responsibilities, with several really poignant scenes where you see how badly he wants to pursue those dreams, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore (Mr. Potter), Thomas Mitchell (Uncle Billy) and Henry Travers (Clarence) are just incomparable in their roles.  This movie never fails to bring a tear to my eye in the end, no matter how many times I see it!

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 03:40:27 AM »
Miracle on 34th Street, now that's the movie I'm going to watch this Christmas. I hear it's very good.

hal9g

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 04:03:10 AM »
Miracle on 34th Street, now that's the movie I'm going to watch this Christmas. I hear it's very good.

A classic that you can't help but love.  A nine-year-old Natalie Wood, a strong-willed Maureen O'Hara (as usual) and Edmund Gwenn in what I believe is his career-best performance.  Throw in John Payne, William Frawley and Gene Lockhart and you can't go wrong!

Offline Antares

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2010, 02:59:03 PM »
Miracle on 34th Street, now that's the movie I'm going to watch this Christmas. I hear it's very good.

Just avoid at all costs, the colorized version.  :thumbdown:

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2010, 11:24:13 PM »
Miracle on 34th Street, now that's the movie I'm going to watch this Christmas. I hear it's very good.

Just avoid at all costs, the colorized version.  :thumbdown:

I didn't know it had been colorized. Or are you referring to the 1994 remake?

Offline Antares

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2010, 11:28:40 PM »
The 1947 film, along with It's a Wonderful Life were the first two films to be colorized back in the late 80's.

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2010, 11:50:14 PM »
The 1947 film, along with It's a Wonderful Life were the first two films to be colorized back in the late 80's.

You learn something new everyday. I'm not one for colorized films. Watching It's a Wonderful Life in colour would not be the same at all.

Najemikon

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2010, 11:53:52 PM »
I reviewed the Blu-Ray last year: http://www.dvdcollectorsonline.com/index.php/topic,5216.msg103070.html#msg103070

Now I would never watch the colourised version that was included, but it was actually scary how good it was. The fact is, when they colourise it looks like crap. Like some kid has scribbled over a drawing. This was stunning how good it was. Still wouldn't watch it though and the very fact they can do it, doesn't mean they should (to paraphrase Jurassic Park ;)).

Offline Antares

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Re: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2010, 12:09:35 AM »
Jon, I know your secretly waiting for the colourised (Like the way I spelled that  ;) ) versions of Citizen Kane, Strangers on a Train and Psycho:tease: :laugh: