It's a Wonderful Life

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It's a Wonderful Life
Directed by Frank Capra
Produced by Frank Capra
Written by Frances Goodrich
Albert Hackett
Frank Capra
Starring James Stewart
Donna Reed
Lionel Barrymore
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc
Joseph Walker
Victor Milner (uncredited)
Editing by William Hornbeck
Distributed by Liberty Films
Language English

It's a Wonderful Life is a classic 1946 film, directed by Frank Capra and stars James Stewart & Donna Reed. The film shows the life of George Bailey, a man who almost commits suicide, but is rescued by a quirky angel named Clarence. Clarence shows George what things would be like, if he had never been born, causing George to understand his wonderful life. This movie was based on an article entitled “The Greatest Gift,” written by Civil War historian and editor Philip Van Doren Stern, in November 1939.[1]

The popular classic includes this scene of chivalry against the downtrodden star played by Jimmy Stewart:

He happens to be sitting next to Mr. Welch (also at the bar since his wife was insulted), who promptly decks him, leaving him with a bloody lip. His prayer unanswered, he leaves Martini’s.[2]

Based on a short story by Philip van Doren Stern, the film is about a crisis in George's life when a stunning business problem piles onto his general discontent. After Uncle Billy misplaces a huge deposit from the building and loan, George launches into "a tirade against the world, against life itself, against God."[3] He realizes he's "worth more dead than alive" and wanders down to the bridge to commit suicide, so his family can get his life insurance. He then sees a nightmarish vision of what the town would be like if he had never lived: the town mired in sin and squalor, no building and loan, his wife became a whore, Uncle Billy was committed to an insane asylum, his brother Harry drowned as in a childhood sledding accident. It is only when he prays to get his old life back that the vision ends; when the townspeople discover his distress, they rally around him, flooding his house with more than enough cash to cover the lost deposit.

Notes

  1. https://unrememberedhistory.com/tag/frank-capra-its-a-wonderful-life/
  2. https://www.pastemagazine.com/movies/it-s-a-wonderful-life/the-12-grimmest-moments-in-its-a-wonderful/#8-maybe-suicide-is
  3. original script