Sunday, December 4, 2016

Its a Wonderful Life. . .a review.

Watched It's a Wonderful Life for the fiftieth time last night after a day of tree decorating. Just a few random observations about this classic film:

1. Early on life wasn't so wonderful for twelve year old George Bailey as we see him working for the local pharmacist (hello child labor!), and getting slapped around by his drunk boss (assault and battery).

2. On the bright side, how tough could life have been for a kid growing up in a town that had such an awesome frozen pond to slide around on with a shovel for a sled??

3. How great was Lionel Barrymore as Potter? Best line? After George gives that passionate defense of the Building and Loan and its role as lender of last resort of the lower classes to the board of directors, Barrymore bellows, "Sentimental hogwash!!!"

4. This is the sort of film that all the smart kids in your film studies class hated. I can just hear some patchy bearded guy wearing a beret and sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt opining,"This film was a disaster for the ethos of urban life what with the horrible precedent set by Bailey Park!! Besides, Pottersville was a far more diverse and culturally interesting place!"

5. When Donna Reed, wearing only a bath robe with the moonlight shining on her face is asked by George Bailey how old she is. . .who on earth believes that she is 18??

6. Everytime I watch this movie I wait for it, the epic tight shot of George and Mary sharing the telephone as they talk with Sam Wainright from New York. He's trying to get George in on the ground floor of plastics, but no one can take their eyes off of George and Mary actually falling in love before our eyes. I'm not sure Hollywood has ever produced a sexier, more evocative scene before or since.

7. Favorite line of the film for me comes after the suicide attempt at the bridge when they are drying out around the wood stove. Clarence reminds George that they don't have any need for money in heaven. George deadpans, "Yeah? Well, it comes in pretty handy down here!"

But, as wonderful and enjoyable as this picture is, once again, I wasn't around for the credits. First of all, I know how it ends but mostly, Frank Capra needed a better editor. Way. Too. Long. Pam asked a rhetorical question as we watched, "I wonder why nobody has ever made a remake of this movie?"  The answer is, people from Hollywood today much prefer Pottersville to Bedford Falls. So, if any big shot producers from tinsel town ever happen to stumble onto this blog. . .PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't remake this film!!!!!!