Members Area
Countdown to Christmas --
Visit My Merry Christmas on Facebook!   Visit My Merry Christmas on Twitter!   Get My Merry Christmas on RSS
Navigation » Merry Forums of My Merry Christmas > Christmas Library > Index > Christmas Culture > Christmas Movies » It's a Wonderful Life (Movie Review)

Home Submit Article New in the Library What's Popular Search

» What's New
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
18,485 Views  4 Posts
santahat The Real History of the...
by MMC Editor
10-24-2013 12:44 PM
16,561 Views  0 Posts
santahat The Mistletoe Bough...
by MMC Editor
10-17-2013 06:19 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:04 AM
17,479 Views
2 Posts
Christmas Tree A Christmas Tree for Cats
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 08:21 AM
20,491 Views  0 Posts
Christmas Tree The Birds' Christmas...
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 06:59 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:12 AM
22,400 Views  1 Posts
» Random Entries
Presentblue Guide to Black Friday...
by MMC Editor
11-08-2012 11:50 AM
Last post by jimmydbrown
12-27-2012 04:59 AM
82,759 Views  4 Posts
My Neighbor, My Friend
by MMC Editor
05-31-2002 09:31 PM
49,376 Views  0 Posts
Mr. Krueger's Christmas...
by MMC Editor
06-09-2011 09:08 PM
66,160 Views  0 Posts
Mrs. Christmas
by MMC Editor
05-31-2002 08:55 PM
Last post by sammylar1304
08-17-2011 02:31 PM
47,874 Views  1 Posts
Christmas in America...
by MMC Editor
10-18-2011 01:41 AM
64,291 Views  0 Posts
It's a Wonderful Life (Movie Review)
Report to Moderator Old 06-09-2011 09:17 PM
MMC Editor
 
Views: 52,081
Replies: 0
By Brian Stewart



The trouble with reviewing a movie like Its a Wonderful Life arises from the difficulty of separating the film from the tradition that has built up around it. For example, my first viewing came one Christmas Eve when my aunt and grandmother pressed me into service as a babysitter for my younger cousins so they could go to midnight mass and I ended up watching a late night Spanish language showing of the movie. How can I possibly give a film a fair review after such an initiation as that?

Personally, I think it is impossible, but I think it is equally impossible for anyone else. Everyone has a memory related to this film and, as such, would, in good conscience, have to excuse themselves from an objective critical appraisal. With no better candidates for the job, then, I will therefore press on.

Its a Wonderful Life turns on one of the most clever plot devices in movie history (and I know it is clever because television writers are continually stealing it. I can think of rip-offs coming from such diverse shows as Dallas and the Saturday morning cartoon, 'The Adventures of Ed Grimly').

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), prominent and popular citizen of Bedford Falls, is despondent over his loss of $8000 and contemplates suicide. His guardian angel, Clarence (Henry Travers), who needs to save George in order "to get his wings," shows him what the town would be like if he had never been born.

This is a superb idea for a movie. The only problem being that in order for it to pay off --that is, in order for us to understand what life would have been like in George's absence -- we must first witness the impact he has had on the citizenry of Bedford Falls. This constitutes the largest portion of the film and while it does have its share of likable scenes, George courting his future wife (Donna Reed) is particularly sweet, this setup is nonetheless vaguely boring, and audience interest is only really sustained by Jimmy Stewart's always likable presence.

When I hear that originally Its A Wonderful Life didn't perform well at the box office and only truly found its niche in television rebroadcasts, I can understand why. I think proper enjoyment of the film depends on a familiarity of the characters and the lesser demands of focus facilitated by television. In a theatre, I think the climax, engaging and clever as it might be, might come too late to silence the yawning and impatient toe tapping of the viewers. But at home, watching with a group of people, an audience can amuse itself with conversation through the earlier sections and then quiet down and enjoy the classic ending for all its worth. I think it helps define both the virtues and the flaws of this film to note that I felt the same emotional reaction to it the first time I saw it, in a language for which my working vocabulary is about five words, as each subsequent English viewing.

One final statement about the charming nostalgia this film contains. At the end George's daughter, hearing the tinkle of a Christmas bell, says, for seemingly no other reason then to remind us of Clarence's good fortune, "Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." In today's world, an educator would be fired, sued and possibly spayed for making such a remark, but in the world depicted by the film it is a thoroughly uncontroversial statement. That alone makes this film a likable holiday treat.
__________________
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.



Tags: It's a Wonderful Life
Send to Friend

Rate Article:



 
Category Jump
» Featured
Top Ten Christmas Videos...
by Jeff Westover
12-16-2013 08:10 AM
14,078 Views  0 Posts
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
18,485 Views  4 Posts
Annual Survey of...
by MMC Editor
09-16-2013 08:19 AM
Last post by icetene33
10-21-2013 04:04 PM
19,348 Views  2 Posts
Snowman2 Top Five Christmas Hoaxes
by MMC Editor
09-09-2013 02:14 PM
24,015 Views  0 Posts
stocking Santa Smoking: Why is...
by Jeff Westover
10-11-2012 08:10 AM
Last post by HollyJolly
09-02-2013 08:30 AM
42,363 Views  6 Posts
» Recent Comments
Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate: A Matter of Taste
It's hard to find good writing now a days. But you have done a great job with all these sharing hot Cocoa and hot Chocolate. That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
by Riccardo Vasquez on 04-04-2014 01:38 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
My top favorite Christmas Sitcoms: All from M*A*S*H , Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley. Step By Step - I'll Be Home For Christmas
by Minta on 04-01-2014 10:33 AM
His Name is Bud
love this story! Thanks for sharing your memories.
by Christmasstar on 04-01-2014 06:46 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
Here are my top 10: (in no particular order) All 3 M*A*S*H Christmas episodes they made: Dear Dad Dear Sis Death Takes a Holiday The Bob Newhart Show: His Busiest Time I'm Dreaming of a...
by Christmas-A-Holic on 03-26-2014 07:50 AM
Tips for Buying a Fresh Tree
I will do that fresh cut of the trunk.....that was my problem last Christmas.....the tree lost so many needles....even tho it was fresh....the problem was....since I didn´t cut the trunk....the tree...
by trackrebel on 03-24-2014 09:13 AM
» Christmas Library Stats
Christmas Library Statistics Categories: 31, Articles: 352, Posts: 134, Total Views 18,616,558