It’s a Wonderful Life

 

Frank Capra’s box office flop, and one of the greatest of American films

 

If you haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life yet this season, there’s still probably a chance.

 

If you haven’t seen it at all, ever — I’ll bet that there are several of you out there; we’ve just watched most of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and my wife swears up and down, incredibly, that she’s never seen it before — then I have just one word for you:  Repent.

 

I didn’t see It’s a Wonderful Life, hadn’t even heard of it, until after my mission.  It was shown as part of what was then called the “Film Society” at BYU — back in the day, unthinkable to many now, before there were video cassettes, let alone DVDs.  We never saw older films in that far-off and primitive era unless they were re-released or somebody managed to get a film print and show it on a projector or they were broadcast on one of the regular television channels (of which, when I was growing up, even so significant a media market and source as Los Angeles had only three network affiliates and four independent channels).  Which means that you had a very long wait before a given older film came on, if it ever did, and that you would probably miss it when it finally appeared.  Thanks to the Film Society, though, I came to know and love such films as On the Waterfront, Peu d’Ane, VertigoThe Magnificent Ambersons, La StradaHow Green was My Valley, Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, and, for that matter, anything at all by Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Elia Kazan.  And It’s a Wonderful Life (which left me, in my then-unmarried state, with a crush on Donna Reed).

 

Posted from Kendall (Miami), Florida.

 

 


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