‘Well, Mr. Potter, In My Book He Died A Much Richer Man Than You’ll Ever Be.’

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Sixty-seven years ago on Christmas eve, George Bailey was at the end of his rope and was about to jump off a bridge in Bedford Falls, New York. So began the beginning of the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, a movie that I never tire of seeing this time of year.

Even when I was at my most cynical, It’s A Wonderful Life was never simplistic, a label that feckless critics pasted on the George Cukor-directed film upon its 1946 debut. On one very lonely Christmas Eve, it helped me through a long night, while with every passing year its message continues to humble and inspire me.

That message reverberates even more strongly today given the horrors that seem to visit our lives with such numbing regularity: Each of us, no matter how insignificant we may seem, has the power to make a difference. And that the true measure of our humanity has nothing to do with fame or money, but with how we live our life.

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen It’s A Wonderful Life, check your TV listings or webstream it from Netflix. If you’ve never seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Oh, and have yourself a happy holiday.

         

6 Comments

  1. As I said on an earlier thread, this is also my favorite Christmas movie, and one of my favorite movies, period.

    But, the credit for director is listed as Frank Capra, born Francesco Rosario Capra. Your reference to this being a “George Cukor-directed film” caused me to look up the cast and crew where I find no mention of George Cukor. Do you know something I don’t?

  2. My favorite of all time, too.

    It is said Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life is one of Steven Spielberg’s favorite movies. He is even said to watch it for inspiration each time he makes a film.

    I thought I’d read that he even requires the actors and crew to watch it, though this article doesn’t mention that.

    http://www.examiner.com/articl.....erful-life

  3. Cukor was a contemporary of Capra, but their directing styles would never be mistaken. My Cukor favorite, by a mile, was A Philadelphia Story.

  4. Once one suspends the fact that the story involves corny things like guardian angels, almost everyone I know including myself can see the beauty in, “its a wonderful life.”

    I guess I’ve gotten old enough to read the obituaries and wonder if I am doing anything worthwhile during what could be, the last decade of my life. But when I think of my friends and family members who have made a lasting impression on me, I hope that somewhere in all my fumbling—and sometimes outright dumb things that I have thought and done—that some of these things might also have made an important difference for others.

    I have an illness which includes living with a great deal of pain every day of my life, and sometimes I become disillusioned with the hand that was dealt to me. But, just like George Bailey, I usually don’t realize all the blessings and just plain good luck I have had in my life. And if my living has helped anyone, then that alone makes my life worth while.

    Its hard for anyone to keep a dry eye, or hold back the tears, when George’s close friends and family members fill his livingroom at the end of the movie,in order to give him all of their love and support. And considering the role that George’s daughter “zuzu,” plays in the film, (if that how her nickname was spelled) one cannot help but be touched by seeing her in his arms while “another angel gets their wings.”

    Its true that the amount of money one has, is no where nearly as important as the love that one gives and receives from others, and, it may be a downright detriment when a billionaire is able to satisfy every spoiled, self-centered and greedy idea he or she may have, just because their money can be used to build a psychological fortress that shuts out the light of day and the light of love itself. At least those of us who have to struggle a bit in order to survive, cannot hide from the consequences of our actions easily, and CAN have real empathy for others in need. and we probably grow more psychologically, than many of the wealthy because of that fact.

    Anybody who has ever felt suicidal should watch this movie and consider his or her impact on the people around them and in their lives.

  5. My favorite movie of all time (anytime). It is a family tradition to watch this movie every Christmas Eve for decades now. I am really ready to see it again.

    Thanks, Shaun …

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