Revisiting “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Let’s face it, the holidays are quite stressful for a lot of us, even at the best of times. However, it’s important, now more than ever, to be grateful for the love and support our friends and family bring to us. So what better way to remind ourselves of the enduring strength of the human spirit in the toughest of times than to take in a screening of the enduring Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” in the way it was meant to be seen — on the big screen?
Directed and produced by Frank Capra in 1946, the film tells the story of a good man named George (Jimmy Stewart), who, having fallen on tough times just before Christmas finds himself at the end of his rope, contemplating suicide and wishing he was never born.
Enter Clarence, an honest to goodness angel in need of one great act to earn his wings. He has seen all those small and graceful moments in George’s life where actions great and small but largely unremembered have affected and changed those around him for the better. As the picture progresses, Clarence offers George, as well as the audience, a vision of what life would be like without him. Suffice to say, it’s not pretty.
“It’s A Wonderful Life” was not a financial success at the time of its release. In fact, it wasn’t until the film started showing regularly on syndicated television in the 1980s (the rights had fallen into public domain by that point) that it developed a devoted following, making it one of the most popular and inspiring films of all time.
If you have not seen the film, I will not spoil its charms. But be warned … even stonehearted grinches may find themselves shedding tears by the end.
“It’s A Wonderful Life” boasts timeless performances from Stewart in one of his most iconic roles, Donna Reed as his wife, Mary, Henry Travers as the loveable Clarence, and cinema giant Lionel Barrymore as one of Hollywood’s greatest heels, Mr. Potter. But perhaps the strongest aspect of the film is its large supporting cast, comprised of a host of talented character actors who really bring the town of Bedford Falls to life.
All we have is each other, or as a special angel once said, “No man is a failure who has friends.”
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is playing at the Luna Theater in Lowell on Dec. 21 and 22. Check their calendar for show times.