Darkness To Light Translation: la lumière et l'obscurité...

Noirish City....the world of rain soaked streets, dark alleys and dead ends...The Home of Tough Guys, Femme-Fatale, and a cup of (Coffee) murder, gats,...The Maltese Falcon, Val Lewton, Black Angel, Sunset Blvd., dark, light, shadows, Cry of the City, Victor Mature, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark, Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Conte, Orson Welles, The Third Man,Touch of Evil, dark figures, Act of Violence, The Big Combo, Out of the Past, Paranoia, dark alleys, rain slick streets, Chiaroscuro......Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sidney Green-street, Elisha Cook and that... "Bird." _____________________________________________________________ To read mini reviews of films that are considered...noirs...You can now follow Tony D'Ambra....on Twitter at... FilmnoirReviews _____________________________________________________________ "The City was dark with something more than night." - Raymond Chandler [Pre Code and Noir dwells here, in the shadows. Beginning next year, movie studios plan to begin phasing out renting 35mm prints of vintage movies to theaters, forcing revival theaters to show them in digital format only. This is not how these classic films were meant to be seen, at the push of a sterile button, in a non film format, and many classic films will also fall by the wayside and become lost films - there is an online petition to hopefully stop this by following the link to Fight For 35MM Films...] Thanks to Julia Marchese, New Beverly Cinema and Dark City.

24.12.12

My writer Andrew Katsis...Takes a look at Capra's Christmas film "It's A Wonderful Life..." as I ask...Why is this film considered a film noir?

It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 Hollywood Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank 
Is  Frank Capra's film and based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern. 

[PLEASE STOP TO LISTEN TO CLUTE AND EDWARDS' PODCAST AND THEIR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE COLORIZED VERSION TOO...]
Clute and Edwards' podcast...Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir...Episode 13: It's a Wonderful Life 
According To Andrew...This review may contain spoilers ***
 
Why is it that I get a little teary every time I watch 'It's A Wonderful Life (1946)?' The title says it all, I suppose. Despite the film's reputation as a holiday classic, Capra's film succeeds because it doesn't forget about the other eleven months of the year – it truly is about life, and what makes it wonderful.
Even the most understated moments have a tendency to expose me as a romantic: in one of my favourite scenes, George Bailey (James Stewart) offers the Moon to his sweetheart, Mary (Donna Reed). Yet Capra doesn't patronise the audience with a string of happy moments.

George, at first, seems like the unluckiest person in town, a man whose big dreams never came to fruition, for reasons entirely outside his control. It is Capra's miracle that George, and the audience, ultimately realise that life's greatest wonders are not necessarily those that we had anticipated – friends we never expected to make, a girl with whom we never expected to fall in love…

On a snowy Christmas Eve, George Bailey stands on a bridge in his home town of Bedford Falls, contemplating suicide. Throughout his life-time, George's grand dreams of exploration and excitement have been repeatedly stifled by tragedy and obligation, and now he sees no future except in death.

[editor's note: The screen shot above is from the TCM colorized version which you can watch here in its entirety...HERE: CAPRA'S "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE..."] Joseph, [The Head Angel...] watching from Heaven, sends down guardian angel Clarence ((Henry Travers), who tries to convince George that life is something to be treasured. 'It's a Wonderful Life' was adapted from Philip Van Doren Stern's short story "The Greatest Gift," and carries shades of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (indeed, Lionel Barrymore was chosen for the role of Mr. Potter based on his much-lauded radio portrayals of Scrooge from 1934).

James Stewart, who had served in the U.S. Airforce during WWII, brings a painful weariness to the role of beleaguered family-man George Bailey, and the warm, soulful eyes of Donna Reed – as George's wife Mary – are enough to remind any man that life is, indeed, wonderful.
'It's A Wonderful Life' differs from 'You Can't Take It With You (1938)' and 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)' in that the film's central immoral character does not undergo a change of heart (though, admittedly, Jim Taylor in the latter film does remain a rigid villain, even when Senator Paine reveals a human streak).

Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) is one of cinema's most formidable villains, a heaving bulk of a man, confined to a wheelchair, who desires money and power for the sake of money and power. In the swelling emotion of Capra's final act, it's easy to forget that Potter goes unpunished for his moral crimes.

Here, Capra deals in blacks and whites. George Bailey is a good man; Mr Potter is a bad man. The director's own unique brand of "Capra-corn" required that the audience's sympathies never be confused, so that they can commit themselves to a character who is destined for a happy ending. After having watched 'You Can't Take It With You,' Barrymore's role- reversing characterization is stunning.

[editor's note: You can also watch the film in which it was intended in glorious Black and White...HERE:FRANK CAPRA'S "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE..."
[Footnote:
1. "It's a Wonderful Life" is unique in that it is a Film blanc with a self-contained Film-noir episode. The horror vision of Bedford Falls turned into the degenerate Pottersville is like an alternate-universe in a time travel science fiction story.

What Savant Of dvdtalk... hasn't heard pointed out elsewhere is that this must have been Capra's statement against the violent, amoral 40s thrillers he so vociferously condemned in his autobiography, films like "Kiss_of_Death_"where grandmothers in wheelchairs are pushed to their deaths down stairways.

"Kiss of Death" and its ilk, of course, would eventually come to be known as Film Noir ...Read more about Films Blanc in a related Savant article. Return Text © Copyright 1998 Glenn Erickson.]
1. It's a Wonderful Life is unique in that it is a Film Blanc with a self-contained Film Noir episode. The horror vision of Bedford Falls turned into the degenerate Pottersville is like an alternate-universe in a time travel science fiction story.
Read more about Films Blanc in a related Savant article...[Here at:  Savant Of dvdtalk... Return Text © Copyright 1998 Glenn Erickson.]

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