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Saturday, July 5, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life (1947)

'It's a wonderful life' is a movie that is a staple of Christmas runs, and regarded as a classic. Produced and directed by Frank Capra, it was released in 1947, and was initially regarded as a failure since it did not make the amount of money that was expected from a movie by Frank Capra. This led movie bosses to assume that the magic of Frank Capra's story-telling was over, and he was no longer capable of spinning the crowd puller magic.
The movie was also nominated for 5 Oscars, but did not win any (further reducing its chances of being hailed as a success). It was only repeated telecasts in the 1970's and 1980's that led to it being a favorite, especially for the holiday season. The movie is now seen as one of the greatest American movies made, and normally forms part of the top 100 lists of movies. The movie has also a role to play in copyright drama, with the movie having gone out of copyright protection in 1974 due to a clerical error; but was deemed to be still protected as the story of the film was deemed protected due to it being based on the published story "The Greatest Gift," and the copyright of this work was properly renewed by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1971. So television studios were still required to pay royalty.

It's a Wonderful Life (1947)

The various Oscars for which the movie was nominated were:
* Best Actor for James Stewart
* Best Editing for William Hornbeck
* Best Director for Frank Capra
* Best Sound Recording for John Aalberg
* Best Picture for Frank Capra

An incredible number of television viewers must have seen the movie, given the number of times the movie has been shown on television (although the newer enforcing of copyright by Paramount has reduced the number of television reruns); the movie takes the life of James Stewart (George Bailey), a resident of Bedford Falls. He feels that he is a failure, and is about to commit suicide when his guardian angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) is sent to rescue him. Clarence takes him through his life, where James has done many good deeds; he saved the life of his brother Harry, he saved another young boy from poisoning, he sacrificed his ambition to meed the needs of his family, he worked to provide needed home loans and protection to weaker members of his community, and shows him what would have happened had he not been there. And you can see the difference that James made with his actions and deeds. Seeing all this is enough to convince James that he has made a positive contribution to his life. When he gets back home, he realizes that his good life and reputation has solved things for him.

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