70 years ago today, the now beloved Christmas classic
It's A Wonderful Life
premiered on December 20th, 1946
to mixed reviews and was not the highly acclaimed film we know today.
A clerical error by the NTA (National Telefilm Associates) in 1974
caused the film to enter the public domain and
The film is now a public treasure in part due to local stations having gained the ability
to saturate our living rooms with repeated viewings
from Thanksgiving to Christmas every year.
Like most American families, our annual holiday traditions
included watching It's A Wonderful Life.
Dozens of pillows and blankets would be gathered and we'd pile in the family room
to become engrossed in Frank Capra's fictional town of Bedford Falls
and the trials and triumphs of town resident,
George Bailey (James Stewart).
Witnessing crucial scenes from George's boyhood,
following him through his dreams & ambitions of youth,
and watching him fall in love with Mary (Donna Reed).
They wed shortly there after, raise a family
and we slowly see his daydreams dwindle and dim.
The culmination is Christmas Eve night when he's rescued by an angel
Clarence Odbody Angel Second Class (AS2)
who takes George on a journey of self-discovery to realize that
he really has been blessed with a wonderful life.
What is it about It's A Wonderful Life
that still appeals to fans and viewers
7 decades later?
7 decades later?
On some level, there's a little of George Bailey in all of us.
We find ourselves in seemingly desperate situations,
hungrily eyeing the greener grass on the other side of the fence,
or believing others would be considerably better off without us.
Clarence opens George's eyes
and helps him clearly see how rewarding his life truly is.
The message that life is a
gift still resonates with viewers
Fun Film Trivia:
(Director) Frank Capra often said that this film was his favorite of all his films. Likewise, Jimmy Stewart has often said that George Bailey was his favorite character to play.
Jimmy Stewart was nervous about the phone kissing scene (with Donna Reed) because it was his first screen kiss since returning to Hollywood after WWII. He filmed the scene in one unrehearsed take, and it worked so well that part of the embrace was cut because it was too passionate to pass the censors.
It's A Wonderful Life was Donna Reed's first starring role.
Director's Trademark: Jimmy the Raven appeared in all Capra films after 1938 including It's A Wonderful Life.