It's A Wonderful Life (1946)1946
Henry Fonda, Stewart's best friend, was also considered. Both actors had returned from the war with no employment prospects. Fonda, however, was cast in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946), which was filmed at the same time that Capra shot It's a Wonderful Life. For 17 supporting roles in the film, Capra considered more than 170 established actors.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)1946
According to a 2006 book, "A spate of movies appeared just after the ending of the Second World War, including It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Stairway to Heaven (1946), perhaps tapping into so many people's experience of loss of loved ones and offering a kind of consolation." It's a Wonderful Life premiered at the Globe Theatre in New York City on December 20, 1946, to mixed reviews. While Capra thought the contemporary critical reviews were either universally negative, or at best dismissive, Time said, "It's a Wonderful Life is a pretty wonderful movie. It has only one formidable rival (Goldwyn's The Best Years of Our Lives) as Hollywood's best picture of the year. Director Capra's inventiveness, humor, and affection for human beings keep it glowing with life and excitement."
The film's elevation to the status of a beloved classic came three decades after its initial release, when it became a television staple during Christmas season in 1976. This came as a welcome surprise to Frank Capra and others involved with its production. "It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen", Capra told The Wall Street Journal in 1984. "The film has a life of its own now, and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be President. I'm proud ... but it's the kid who did the work. I didn't even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea." In a 1946 interview, Capra described the film's theme as "the individual's belief in himself" and that he made it "to combat a modern trend toward atheism". It ranked 283rd among critics, and 107th among directors, in the 2012 Sight & Sound polls of the greatest films ever made.
Georgemarries his high school sweetheart (Donna Reed, in her first starring role),settles down to raise a family, and helps half the poor folks in town buy homeswhere they can raise their own. Then, when George's absentminded uncle (ThomasMitchell) misplaces some bank funds during the Christmas season, it looks as ifthe evil Potter will have his way after all. George loses hope and turns mean(even his face seems to darken, although it's still nice and pink in thecolorized version). He despairs, and is standing on a bridge contemplatingsuicide when an Angel 2nd Class named Clarence (Henry Travers) saves him andshows him what life in Bedford Falls would have been like without him.
But even given all of these wonderful acts, George Bailey is the real hero precisely because he stuck around against all of his desires to go out and see the world. After all of the fighting is done, after all of the revolutionaries have gone out to change the world, fought, won, triumphed, where are they going to go? Think of what Bedford Falls would have actually looked like if he had left and Mr. Potter had gotten his way. Pottersville is obviously not Bedford Falls because it has been drawn into the world of change and culture wars. But the home is not a place for war, the home is a place of rest and life. So George Bailey remains at home to fight a war that goes unrecognized. He champions the power of the homestead. He makes a true home and a true town a reality, so that when all the warriors return, they will have something they recognize and can finally rest.
George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all - and it's Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn't been for all of his good deeds over the years. Will Clarence be able to convince George to return to his family and forget suicide?
It's A Wonderful Life is not only a classic Christmas film, but it's also one of the greatest films ever made. The story concerns George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, who, when on the verge of suicide due to his perceived life failures, is shown an alternate reality of what life would have been like if he were never born.
Life's villains could be people, financial problems, natural disasters, or illness, and these often cannot be corrected or reversed. Like George Bailey, it's important to rise above these issues. In the end, technically Potter wins since no one discovers he stole the money. However, George's life isn't ruined because the town raises the money needed, and more importantly, his perspective changes. 041b061a72