I always wondered why life has a lot to give to us when least expected. Is it its way of testing one’s response? In any case, this movie gave insight into how situations pan out, which are very different from one’s dream.
This is a story of George Bailey (James Stewart) and his altruism. He always dreamt of traveling places. However, due to his father’s sudden death, his plans had to take a back step. Instead, he takes over his father’s loan and building company. Mr. Potter’s (Lionel Barrymore) malicious intentions are always cut short by Bailey’s love and affection for his town and the people.
To give a glimpse of what this movie is about:
Few days before Christmas, disaster strikes, and some part of the company’s money is lost when Bailey’s uncle was depositing in the bank. Mr. Potter, who was well aware of the possible consequences, would hide the money. Fearing about his company shut down for money loss, a frustrated and clueless Bailey contemplates suicide.
His years of goodwill ensured an angel named Clarence, who wants to earn his wings, comes to earth. He shows Bailey how his town as if he hadn’t been born. The city would have been in chaos under Potter’s reign. His family members are either dead or led a life of misery.
This probably made Bailey understand the positive impact he had on people’s lives and re-consider his suicide, and realize what a wonderful life he has had. He did want his life back, and more than ever, he wanted to live again.
This was the first movie I had seen of James Stewart and that of Frank Capra, and it happened to be the starring debut for Donna Reed, who plays Mary Bailey.
The movie has many claims and is widely rated as one of the top films never to have won Best Picture Oscar only behind Shawshank Redemption. On the technical front, this film did innovate a unique method of creating snowfall.
Personally, this movie was one of the first Black ‘N’ White films I had seen as a college student. It did have a positive impact on my life then. Four years hence, I still feel the same vibes when I think about this movie.
In the last scene, when Bailey’s daughter is very apt looking at the situation he had to deal with the angel.
At his home when the party is on, sound from Christmas bells…
Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. The teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.
George Bailey: That’s right, that’s right. Attaboy, Clarence.