“What is it you want Mary? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”
It’s a Wonderful Life is, simply put, essential festive viewing. Frank Capra’s 1946 classic encapsulates true Christmas spirit and goodwill like no other and is bound to warm your cockles on the frostiest of eves.
If you don’t know the story by now (Where have you been?), James Stewart plays a kind-hearted man named George Bailey, who has sacrificed nigh on everything throughout his life, in an attempt to help those around him. In spite of his nature, Bailey is severely down on his luck, and begins ‘thinking seriously about throwing away God’s greatest gift…’
Stewart is iconic in his role, perfect in his conviction of selflessness and compromise, determined not to allow the greed of others (see Lionel Barrymore’s brilliantly villainous, ‘Mr Potter‘) to beat down his joyous nature. The palpable chemistry he shares with Donna Reed makes for a delightful pairing, and the display of disbelief and wonderment portrayed in his scenes with Henry Travers’ mysterious ‘Clarence,’ is a charming portrait of someone experiencing that sprinkling of Christmas magic, as if for the very first time.
It’s a Wonderful Life is a staple of so many families Christmases’ around the world, and has surely proven itself not just to be THE Definitive Christmas movie, but one of the greatest stories ever told. A masterpiece.
By Fin Stockting