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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Xmas! [Part 2]: It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

I wrote part one of this post yesterday. 

Merry Christmas, everybody!!! :) I hope you all have a wonderfully bright Christmas filled with prettily wrapped presents to open, and lots of time with your families, and maybe even room for a classic movie or two! I've also gotten some wonderful, vintage Classic Hollywood things for Christmas, so perhaps I'll do a post sharing what I got with you later this week.

As for now, I present to you the final Christmas movie in my Christmas movie blogathon. It happens to be my favorite, and that's why I saved it for last. But before we get onto it, a recap of what I previously reviewed:
With each movie I also added in a classic Christmas carol. This last one is:

"We Need a Little Christmas" by Lucille Ball <3

I guess you can really press yourself and try and think what I might have chosen for this last review. Well, you guessed it: "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) is my favorite Christmas movie of all time, as well as simply one of my favorite movies period. It may be a cliche to love this movie, but I really do so much. However, since this film is really hard to review because there's basically nothing wrong with it, and you know what it's about and how beautiful Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and everyone else is, you know all of that - so I'm just going to talk about my favorite scenes, and why this movie gives you that lovely warm feeling.


It's a wonderful film. Frank Capra's inverted take on A Christmas Carol stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a good man who's spent a lifetime giving up on his dreams in order to keep life in his small town humming. When a guardian angel named Clarence finds a despondent George poised to jump off a bridge, he shows George what life would've been like had he never been born.
[from Netflix -- as if you NEED any description]

My favorite scenes
I honestly think every scene in this movie is my favorite! But there are a few that always stick out to me, I always remember, and when I re-watch the movie I forever anticipate them. 

  •  The scene early into the movie, when George and Mary are kids. George is working for the druggist, Mr. Gower, and is making Mary the soda she ordered. Mary leans over and whispers into George's left ear, his deaf one:
[I didn't make this, but I really can't remember where I got it from - sorry!]
  • Fast forwarding to the year 1928: George and Mary at the dance. I love how the moment they lock eyes with each other, George takes her in his arms and they began dancing. And then - when they're doing the Charleston, and the pool opens from out underneath them, and they fall inside, still dancing and laughing - and everyone joins them in the pool. How can something like that not make you grin from ear to ear? 
  • This is probably one of the greatest scenes in the whole movie - after the dance, with Mary in the robe and George in the funny letter sweater and baggy pants. They sing "Buffalo Gals" (won't you come out tonight - won't you come out tonight!) and  to me they always seem kind of drunk, but not on alcohol but life. :) Then they make wishes and throw rocks at the windows of the old house, and then comes yet another romantically adorable line: "You want the moon, Mary? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down." Then Mary loses her robe and has to hide in a bush, and of course George won't give her her robe back. All of this fantastic fun is ruined when George gets word of his father's stroke - but it's still one of my very favorite scenes in the whole movie. (I love how all my favorite scenes are with George and Mary).

  • The phone scene. This scene really needs no explanation. I love it. From Mary's "Hee-haw Hello" to George shaking Mary by the shoulders and insisting he'll never marry anyone, and then he takes her in his arms and tells her he loves her. I love everything leading up to this scene, too - Mary's frustration [like when she breaks the "Buffalo Gals" record], "He's making violent love to me, Mother!", Mary's mother watching on in awe, the needlework "George lassos the moon" - all of it! This movie was the first one Jimmy did upon coming back from the war, and he was afraid he would be a little out of practice for the intensity of the phone scene. But it turned out the scene was so very passionate that the Hays Code office had to edit some of it out!
  • When George comes back from yet another terrible confrontation from Mr. Potter, and climbs into bed with Mary and asks her why would she marry someone like him. Then Mary reveals that she's pregnant, and says this adorable line:
[via MYSELF!]

  • This is later into the movie, when George is having the worst day of his life and when he's coming to terms with the fact that he's probably going to land up in jail. He gets home and things aren't much better, his short temper frightens his children and Mary, and then he discovers that one of his daughters, ZuZu, has a slight fever after walking home without a coat. He goes upstairs to talk to her, and she shows him the flower she won at school - a few petals fall off and she asks him to "paste them back on." Since he can't really, he slips them in his pocket and pretends to. One of my nicknames when I was a little - and still, sometimes ;) - was "ZuZu," because of this movie.

  • This is more than one scene, more appropriately a whole chunk of scenes - from the time Clarence shows up and jumps in the water to save George's life, to George's final plea to God for his life back. Everything in between: the nightmare George visits, in this strange town called Pottersville, is definitely the "grim" part of the film, but I still like it. Because George realizes how important he was, and all the kind things he did, and how he really helped people out. Sure, some of it doesn't make sense - like, for example, Mary probably wouldn't have landed up an old maid, she likely would have married Sam. But still. This is the most thought provoking part of the film, and every time I watch it I ask myself: "How would everyone be if I was never born?"

  • When George does get his life back, he races through Bedford Falls, screaming hello to every person and place he passes. He passes the cinema, and what happens to be playing there but no other than Leo McCarey's 1945 vehicle with Bing and Ingrid (another movie I love):
  • The ending.   Every thing from the moment George races in the door to his home, screaming happily, "I'm going to jail, I'm going to jail!" And then he runs up to see his kids and hugs them all, and then Mary comes in the door - and they all race down the stairs, and he hugs her, in that very iconic frame of the Baileys on the staircase. But nothing really gets better then when all the citizens of Bedford Falls come inside and began pouring all this money on the table, ready to pay the $8,000 for their friend George. Then the warrant for George's arrest is torn up, and Harry comes, and then the copy of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" appears with the special inscription from Clarence to George. Everyone breaks excitedly into "Auld Lang Sygne", and a bell on the Christmas tree begins to ring. ZuZu says, "Teacher says everytime a bell rings, an angel gets it's wings," and we all know for sure Clarence has gotten those wings that we all know he deserves. Yeah, sappy sappy sappy, but you can't help but just grin and be happy when you watch this scene. Really happy. One of the most satisfying endings a movie ever had!

And then everything is over, and you're left with a grin on your face and this:

I just love this movie. 
Those are my favorite scenes, which ones are yours??

It's been so much fun sharing my favorite Christmas movies each Sunday, and Christmas carols, too. I hope you enjoyed reading it!

Once again: Merry Christmas from me to you, readers! I hope you all have a really lovely holiday. :)


Carmen said...

Nice to read this because I saw it only yesterday, as you can imagine. I loved all your last posts, btw!!!!!! Happy Holidays, kind of delayed haha.

Dani said...

I saw this movie for the first time last year, I believe. I know it was a bit late, but it's not a very popular film here where I live. And I must say I adored watching it. I really like Frank Capra, I love how his movies are so very relatable.
And I think it's cute that your parents called you ZuZu. I wish my parents liked classic movies too and had introduced them to me at an early age. You're very lucky.

Rianna said...

Carmen: Oh, cool! I'm glad you liked all the posts and happy holidays to you too :)

Dani: Well, better late than never as they say! I like Frank Capra too, he's one of the best directors I think. I'm really glad you liked the movie. And yeah, I'm quite lucky to have parents that did that for me, I honestly can't imagine my life without the classics! :)

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