F-U-N Facts! Thanks Elfbot
June 4, 2013, Posted in Classic Christmas Movies
It is perhaps the most cherished of all Christmas movies and arguably one of the best of all time. But there is a lot about It’s a Wonderful Life you didn’t know:
1. The movie debuted in 1946 to great fanfare and Oscar expectations. It flopped in theaters.
2. The film has two lines of “secret dialog” – spoken quietly through a door. (They can be heard when amplifying the volume, and are also explicitly depicted in the closed-captioning.) The lines occur at the end of the scene set in Bailey’s private office with Bailey and his son George, and Potter and his goon present. After George raves to Potter that “you can’t say that about my father”, he is ushered out of the room by his father, then George is shown standing outside the office door. At that moment, George overhears the following two lines of dialog through the glass pane of the door behind him: POTTER: What’s the answer? BAILEY: Potter, you just humiliated me in front of my son.
3. One requirement from production code for movies at the time was that no criminal could go unpunished. In the movie, Potter gets away with the $8000 and never gets caught or prosecuted. Capra said he received more letters about this than any other issue.
4. All the snow scenes were shot during the summer of 1946 during a record breaking heat wave.
5. The movie was based on a short story called “The Greatest Gift”, by Philip Van Doren Stern. He could not sell the story so he printed two hundred copies of it and included it in his Christmas cards he sent out in 1943.
6. Jimmy the Raven launched his prolific Hollywood career as an animal actor by playing Uncle Billy’s pet raven in It’s a Wonderful Life. If you listen closely as George hops the counter during the bank run scene you’ll hear him say “Look out, Jimmy”.
7. Potter’s office is full of the symbolism of failure. Take a close look the next time you watch the movie and you’ll see a bust of…Napoleon.
8. George and Mary cut a rug dancing the Charleston in the famous scene where the pool opens up underneath the dance floor. But we never learn if they won that contest. Or did we? If you look closely in the office scene during the bank run when George confronts Billy you will see a trophy in the case that looks just like the “genuine loving cup” held up by Harry when he announced the Charleston contest.
9. As George and Mary take off in the cab for their honeymoon Mary holds up a wad of cash declaring they’ve got $2000 to spend. Considering this scene is set in 1932 Mary would have to pull out $30,000 in current money if the scene were set today.
10. In the scene where George saves the Building and Loan with his own money the actress playing Mrs. Davis was secretly instructed by Frank Capra to ask for less money than Jimmy Stewart was expecting. Capra was hoping to capture a look of surprise on George’s face. It worked. She asked for $17.50 and George responded by given Mrs. Davis an impromptu kiss, which made the final cut on the film. Oh, by the way, the actress playing Mrs. Davis? She is Ellen Corby, who would later capture fame as Grandma Walton.
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace & goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.