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 ***
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…
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).
'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).
FRANK CAPRA'S "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE..."
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.]