Old Movies. It’s a Wonderful Life by Frank Capra. Review by Dewey Edward Chester. In 1990, the film was deemed “Culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.
Books into Movies.
You know the story— Bells, “Auld Lang Syne,” a bumbling Angelic-trainee named Clarence.
Frank Capra’s 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is hard to avoid during the holidays, so this year, settle in with a mug of hot cocoa, a slice of fruitcake and watch this Christmastime television staple with new facts in mind:
“It’s a Wonderful Life” was based on a 1939 book, “The Greatest Gift,” written by Philip Van Doren Stern. After spending years trying to sell it to publishers with no success, Stern ‘self-published’ his book and sent it to 200 friends in 1943.
“The Greatest Gift” languished until 1945 when it came to the attention of Hollywood Producer, Frank Capra, who adopted it into “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
You would think that given its beloved status, this movie would have been embraced by the public immediately after its release. But Americans were not feeling sentimental in December 1946. The film received poor reviews and was a box-office flop, failing to recoup its cost.
In the following years, the story fell into obscurity. In addition to getting thumbs down from critics, it received official disapproval from the FBI, which pegged it as Communist propaganda, thanks to its unflattering portrayal of Bankers.
A 1947 FBI memo reads—–“This film attempts to discredit American Bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a “scrooge-type” so that he is the most hated man in the picture —- a trick used by Communists.
“The story maligns upper classes, attempting to show that people with money are mean and despicable.”
Capra’s screenwriter, Dorothy Parker, came within a whisker of being blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
During the 1970s, “It’s a Wonderful Life” re-emerged when it appeared relentlessly on television during the holiday season.
In 1990, the 45-year old film was deemed “Culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.
Enjoy a wonderful Christmas season, Yareah Readers.