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It's A Wonderful Life - W/O for Emily

  • Feb 10, 2002
Pros: acting, story, THE IDEA

Cons: the fact that there are so few family values left in movies today

The Bottom Line: Not required

first my apologies to Diverpam for breaking all the rules of her write-off to benefit Epinion's member Imames, who has a desperately ill daughter requiring surgery and a husband recently unemployed - no insurance! Diverpam asked that you use every one of your Epinion titles in your review, better yet, work it into a real product review.

Secondly, I never contacted her to let her know I was going to get in the thing, in fact, just decided today. My apologies to breaking all the rules, but let's face it - 580 reviews, most of them on really bad and indecent movies, would be a Herculean task. I considered it, and even tried it, but the size of the review alone! and then there is the fact of how to you work Butt cheeks, shaved beavers and perky nipples into ANY review? Snicker, I guess I just did (grin).

It's a wonderful life was released in 1946, the year I was born (for the math deficient, I will be 56 this year) and had an all star cast, for the time. Often left on the shelves until that magical time of the year, Christmas, I think it should be a movie viewed any time you feel like it. It is a movie about blindness, something that our heroine of this write-off, Emily, is all too familiar with.

George Bailey (James Stewart) is the gentlemen in question - so immersed in his ‘problems', setbacks in his life, blocks in his path, that he becomes ‘blind' to those that surround him and love him. Granted, he has his trials - financial ruin on the horizon - but considering the pluses in his life, this is trivial. Reaching the end of his emotional tightrope, George decides to end his life by jumping from a bridge.

Ruminating on his past, he moans the things he had to give up - an education, seeing the world outside Bedford Falls, not finding ‘his real self'. As he wavers on the precipice of suicide, he sees a man floundering in the water and saves his life. This man, Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), is actually an angel that has come to Earth to earn his wings. In order to do this, he must save George. What we have here is a Catch 22 - each bent on saving the others' life which will in turn save their own.

Clarence, in the fashion of the ghosts of Christmas Carol, take George back and show him just how this small town, and the lives he touched, were changed by George's presence there.

Even more than the story is the acting involved. James Stewart gave one of the best performances of his life in this movie showing all spectrums of the emotional scale. It is a movie that you become deeply involved in, arguing the good and trying to champion George on, help him realize what he is leaving behind is much more important that what material possession could entail.

Henry Travers, as Clarence, is just a cuddly teddy bear of a guy that was the perfect choice for this movie. Bumbling along in a way that you feel won't ever let him reach his goal, his cherubic cheeks and sparkling eyes give him wings that are already so huge and powerful you can feel the air disturbed by them when he enters a room.

This movie was nominated for Best Actor (Stewart), Best Director (Capra), Best Film Editing (Hornbech), Best Picture (Capra), Best Sound Recording (Aalberg) 1947; Won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Director (Capra) 1947; Entered in the National Film Preservation Board, National Film Registry, 1990; and WON Young Artists' Award, Former Child Star, Lifetime Achievement Award (Hawkins) 1994!

Some of the scenery in this movie was intensely done - when George runs through the center of this small town, covered in snow, lights glistening, was just wonderful. The other actors involved, Donna Reed as the wife, Lionel Barrymore as the nefarious town banker, the curly haired Carol Coombs as the daughter and the freckled faced Jimmy Hawkins as the son, fleshed out the movie giving it more ‘togetherness' and compassion.

Frank Capra, as producer, director and writer, put forth an emotional film that draws on family values and dips into the dreamer in all of us.

But, like most, we stumble along through life like George. Blindly closing ourselves off from our fellow man, the people that love us, all in the guise of obtaining that extra goodie, the bigger boat, bigger house, newer car, etc. While I agree, I enjoy an intricate bauble once in a while, I also know that to ‘live to work' isn't what it takes to get along in this world. In that vein, I will contribute $.50 for each person that reads this review, and $.25 for each comment (good or bad), to Emily. An angel I don't know but one that deserves her wings.


Please go to Diverpam's profile page to get the list and links to the other writers in this wonderful tribute to a true Epinions family.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
.........Native American Proverb...........


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More It's a Wonderful Life (1947 mo... reviews
review by . December 27, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
I looked up the writers of the classic Frank Capra flick It's a Wonderful Life. Capra's name was among them, and when I did some further-depth research about his own life, I was a little surprised to learn that he suffered occasional bouts of depression during an earlier downswing in his younger years. It seemed odd to me because It's a Wonderful Life doesn't come off as anything that could ever have been written by anyone who's suffered from depression. It comes off like more the fantasy of a screenwriter …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
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Its truley a classic. It is not just a great Christmas movie, but an overall great film. Who doesnt love James Stewart.
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
You always get a warm-hearted feeling when watching this film.
Quick Tip by . May 27, 2010
A heart-warming story!! Makes you want to believe in miracles.
Quick Tip by . May 04, 2010
Great movie, my second favorit.
review by . March 23, 2009
This rates up with my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I grew up on the Donna Reed show and remember that this was the movie I always saw her in and she was a lot more beautiful then. James Stewart is great as George Baily, the guy who wanted to help everybody and sacrificed his own financial success.     The idea that one doesn't realize one's worth until you are removed from the equation has been copied hundreds of times since but never as well as this movie.     Clarence …
review by . December 17, 2008
Such a classic movie. No doubt you've either seen it a million times or heard one of the many infamous quotes.     I enjoy sitting down to properly watch this movie almost as much as I enjoy catching glimpses of it playing on random store-front tv's because it always evokes that warm fuzzy feeling of goodness. There's nothing nicer than knowing a man who gives up everything in his life for others, eventually gets and understands that karma (of course they don't call it that in …
review by . December 17, 2005
I have seen hundreds of movies that move me, "It's a Wonderful Life" have been one of my favorite Christmas story as long as I can remember. Many people find it corny and old fashioned, I find it uplifting and as true in content today as the day it was made. No one could have portrayed the character of George Bailey like the unforgettable Jimmy Stewart....and Donna Reed and the entire cast.......Wow!!   I think Frank Capra must have had a sixth sense when it came to knowing who would cast …
review by . January 27, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
This rates up with my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I grew up on the Donna Reed show and remember that this was the movie I always saw her in and she was a lot more beautiful then. James Stewart is great as George Baily, the guy who wanted to help everybody and sacrificed his own financial success.    The idea that one doesn't realize one's worth until you are removed from the equation has been copied hundreds of times since but never as well as this movie.    Clarence …
review by . September 15, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I watch this movie every year at Christmas and I think it is fabulous. The movie is based largely on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, except in this case instead of a scrooge we have George Bailey. George is a hardworking, decent, and kind man who runs a small bank in town. Unfortunately for him, the bad guy in the movie, Mr. Potter also runs a bank and wants a monopoly in the town. When one of George's employees loses a large sum of money Potter jumps in and tries to ruin George. Distraught …
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Now perhaps the most beloved American film, It's a Wonderful Life was largely forgotten for years, due to a copyright quirk. Only in the late 1970s did it find its audience through repeated TV showings. Frank Capra's masterwork deserves its status as a feel-good communal event, but it is also one of the most fascinating films in the American cinema, a multilayered work of Dickensian density. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. A heavenly messenger (Henry Travers) arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born. The sequence is a vivid depiction of the American Dream gone bad, and probably the wildest thing Capra ever shot (the director's optimistic vision may have darkened during his experiences making military films in World War II). Capra's triumph is to acknowledge the difficulties and disappointments of life, while affirming--in the teary-eyed final reel--his cherished values of friendship and individual achievement.It's a Wonderful Lifewas not a big hit on its initial release, and it won no Oscars (Capra and Stewart were nominated); but it continues to weave a special magic.--Robert Horton
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