Tuesday, December 24, 2013

233 of 1001 Movies: It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

It's A Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic even though it was never intended to be a Christmas movie. For ladies it's a great romance, and for men it's a story of man who sacrificed to provide for his family. Frank Capra would have one of the common actors he had star in his movies, James Stewart to lead, and from there you had a movie made that would be airing on television and a classic to own for almost 65 years. I was rewatch the movie every year, and with time I value the movie more and more.

Summary: George Bailey has always aspired to lead an adventurous life that will leave his mark on the world. A series of events though will leave him living in his hometown though after all he did to plan to leave it. To keep his dad's loan company from failing though, and landing in the hands of Mr.Potter, a corrupt banker, he stays to help manage it. He also settles down with his longtime love. Things aren't as George imagined, but things appear to be looking up at least. Until disaster threatens his life, and George questions his existence, believing it would be better if he had never been born. An angel, Clarence, is sent to help George see what would have been the fate of the town he lives in had he not been born.

Acting: The acting is just superb. It's over done in bits, but it adds to the movie in so many ways. I love the moment where James Stewart's George and Donna Reed's Marry are standing together at the phone, and  George finally realizes his love for Marry. Then he crazily shakes her. It's moments like that that make the movie one of the most powerful black and white movies of it's time. It also shows that the 40's were just kicking butt in being powerful movies. Stewart is one of the most memorable actors in history as well, and his role as George just shows why. Reed is great as well, There is also Lionel Barrymore as the evil Mr. Potter, and this role would become one of his most famous. Thomas Mitchell was Uncle Billy, and becomes the biggest goof up of any movie ever.

Filming: The movie is shot really well. The black and white adds to this movie in a way that probably black and white didn't add to a lot of movies. I couldn't imagine watching this movie in color, because it adds to this classic vibe, and the storytelling. The scenes also have a lot of movement. You have George running down the street, and people driving, and I like how the scenes aren't still, but move with the characters as well.

Plot: The plot is just amazing. It's unique, powerful, easy to relate to, and emotional. It has character stories that years later I can still see in my own life. Whether it's the frustration of watching someone you care about acting crazy, or just going crazy yourself, it's a feeling that almost anyone has experienced. Clarence also adds this layer to the story that takes it to the supernatural, and he weaves in a bit of humor and touching moments where it seems very bleak for George. I think the scene where he is running down the street wish people Merry Christmas, and greeting everyone he knows is just a wonderful moment.

It's A Wonderful Life is a classic, and it ranks probably number one in being one of the best classic black and whites there is. It's just a beautiful story. If nothing else it hopefully gets you thankful around the holiday season for what you do have even if things are still looking very bleak. If you haven't yet get it out and watch it!

Rating 9.5 of 10.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) on IMDb

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