The Essential Its a Wonderful Life: A Scene-By-Scene Guide to the Classic Film
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Gianmarco Milesi. Total Recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Celestine Prophecy. James Redfield. The Kenneth Williams Diaries. Russell Davies. RKO created "chemical snow" for the film in order to avoid the need for dubbed dialogue when actors walked across the earlier type of movie snow, made up of crushed cornflakes. The first is the swimming pool that was unveiled during the famous dance scene where George courts Mary. It is located in the gymnasium at Beverly Hills High School and is still in operation as of As the camera focuses on George, smiling at his uncle staggering away, a crash is heard in the distance and Uncle Billy yells, "I'm all right!
I'm all right! Dimitri Tiomkin had written "Death Telegram" and "Gower's Deliverance" for the drugstore scenes, but in the editing room, Capra elected to go with no music for those scenes. Those changes, along with others, led to a falling out between Tiomkin and Capra. Tiomkin had worked on several of Capra's previous films, and was saddened that Capra decided to have the music pared or toned down, moved, or cut entirely. He felt as though his work was being seen as a mere suggestion. In his autobiography Please Don't Hate Me , he said of the incident, "an all around scissors job".
The products and advertisements featured in Mr. In an earlier draft of the script, the scene where George saves his brother Harry as a child was different. The scene had the boys playing ice hockey on the river which is on Potter's property as Potter watches with disdain. George shoots the puck, but it goes astray and breaks the "No Trespassing" sign and lands in Potter's yard.
Potter becomes irate, and the gardener releases the attack dogs, which causes the boys to flee.
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Harry falls through the ice, and George saves him with the same results. Another scene that was in an earlier version of the script had young George visiting his father at his work.
The Essential It'S A Wonderful Life: A Scene-By-Scene Guide To The Classic Film
After George tells off Mr. Potter and closes the door, he considers asking Uncle Billy about his drugstore dilemma. Billy is talking on the phone to the bank examiner, and lights his cigar and throws his match in the wastebasket. This scene explains that Tilly short for Matilda and Eustace are both his cousins not Billy's kids, though , and Tilly is on the phone with her friend Martha and says, "Potter's here, the bank examiner's coming. It's a day of judgment. George decides he is probably better off dealing with the situation by himself.
Capra had filmed a number of sequences that were subsequently cut, the only remnants remaining being rare stills that have been unearthed. Feeling that an overtly religious tone did not have the emotional impact of the family and friends rushing to rescue George Bailey, the closing scenes were rewritten. Director Capra's inventiveness, humor and affection for human beings keep it glowing with life and excitement. He again proves he can fashion what ordinarily would be homilizing hokum into gleaming, engaging entertainment for all brows—high, low or beetle. Bosley Crowther , writing for The New York Times , complimented some of the actors, including Stewart and Reed, but concluded that "the weakness of this picture, from this reviewer's point of view, is the sentimentality of it—its illusory concept of life.
Capra's nice people are charming, his small town is a quite beguiling place and his pattern for solving problems is most optimistic and facile. But somehow they all resemble theatrical attitudes rather than average realities. Capra has seen to it that almost all the actors involved behave as cutely as pixies Every now and then, James Stewart, who heads the cast, manages to escape from the sticky confines of the script with a bit of honest acting, but he breaks loose too seldom to pull the picture out of its doldrums.
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The film was supposed to be released in January , but was moved up to December to make it eligible for the Academy Awards. This move was seen as worse for the film, as did not have quite the stiff competition as If it had entered the Awards, its biggest competition would have been Miracle on 34th Street. On May 26, , the FBI issued a memo stating "With regard to the picture 'It's a Wonderful Life', [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a 'scrooge-type' so that he would be the most hated man in the picture.
This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. The film's elevation to the status of a beloved classic came decades after its initial release, when it became a television staple during Christmas season in the late s. This came as a welcome surprise to Frank Capra and others involved with its production. I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I'm proud I didn't even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.
Somewhat more iconoclastic views of the film and its content are occasionally expressed. Wendell Jamieson, in a essay for The New York Times which was generally positive in its analysis of the film, interpreted it as "a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people.
It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. In the "Pottersville" sequence, he wrote, George is not "seeing the world that would exist had he never been born", but rather "the world as it does exist, in his time and also in our own. We all live in Pottersville now. In , It's a Wonderful Life was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
In June , AFI revealed its 10 Top 10 , the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres, after polling over 1, people from the creative community. It's a Wonderful Life was acknowledged as the third-best film in the fantasy genre. In a review, film historian James Berardinelli commented on the parallels between this film and the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol.
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In both stories, a man revisits his life and potential death or non-existence with the help of supernatural agents, culminating in a joyous epiphany and a renewed view of his life. Prior to the Los Angeles release of It's a Wonderful Life , Liberty Films mounted an extensive promotional campaign that included a daily advertisement highlighting one of the film's players, along with comments from reviewers. The New York Daily Times offered an editorial in which it declared the film and James Stewart's performance to be worthy of Academy Award consideration.
It's a Wonderful Life received six Academy Award nominations: . The Academy Award win in the Technical Achievement category was for developing a new method of creating artificial snow. And it was so loud when stepped on that any snow filled scenes with dialogue had to be re-dubbed afterwards.