In Brief: We watch it every year and though the movie is very, very old, the message is not.
As promised last week, here is the second of my four favorite Christmas movies.
Done by Frank Capra in 1946, it has — in my opinion — Jimmy Stewart’s best performance in a career full of best performances. He’s poor, do-gooder George Bailey, stuck in his hometown of Bedford Falls doing what’s right and not what he wants. George would rather be anywhere else. His foil — other than himself — is the greedy, miserly Mr. Potter, who more or less rules the town.
As you know, theft of cash from his savings and loan causes Bailey to want to bag life. By the tear-filled climax, Bailey learns that life’s biggest treasure is life itself and loving others and the love returned.
Capra, via Stewart, tells us that while we don’t think our life is that important and that what we do doesn’t touch others, it does.
Every year, It’s a Wonderful Life reminds us that it’s wonderful to be human. No one gave more than George Bailey. And for decades this three-dimensional, and flawed human being, has inspired me — and hopefully you — and shows us there is no better calling than to serve others.
A definite hanky movie. Few of us can get through this one without shedding a tear or two.
Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Ward Bond, Frank Faylen, Gloria Grahame, Billy Mitchell
Not rated but probably PG-13. Frank Capra’s 1946 classic wasn’t meant to be a Christmas movie. But since George Bailey’s miracle happened at Christmas it became a Christmas favorite. Christmas or not, this is one of my all-time favorite movies. This one earns a Friday Flicks with Gary favorite 5 out of 5.
You can catch It’s a Wonderful Life on TV this time of year. Keep your eyes open. Plus, a lot of us have our own DVD of the movie.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.