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A Little Christmas Offering

This is the great winter season for us to be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and enjoying the company of friends and relatives.  On that level, I hope we all do so.  I certainly plan to do that.

It’s a Wonderful Life” is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story and booklet “The Greatest Gift,” which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1943.  The film is one of the most beloved in American cinema, and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.  In fact, Capra — who was trained as an engineer — and special effects supervisor Russell Shearman, both engineered a new type of artificial snow for the film.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a small town banker who has given up his own dreams to help others, and whose planned suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, played by Henry Travers.  In an effort to gain his own angel wings, Clarence shows George all the lives he has helped and influenced, and how different life in George’s community of Bedford Falls would be if he had never been born.  Great story, happy ending.

“It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,” Capra said of the film’s classic status. “The film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it.  I’m like a parent whose kid grows up to be president.  I’m proud… but it’s the kid who did the work.  I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.”

Matthew Ehret, an investigative journalist friend, sent along a ‘little Christmas offering’ that I thought I might share with you.  The offering is about Frank Capra, the director and producer of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and his struggles in Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s.

Frank Capra (1897-1991) stands as one of the most brilliant directors/producers of the 20th Century, and sadly also one of the least understood- known at best for the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” played every year as a Christmas tradition, or “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

“Unbeknownst to even many film connoisseurs today, Capra was not only a pre-eminent cultural warrior who took every opportunity to expose fascist movements during the 1930’s and 1940’s but also fought to provide a positive principled understanding of the divinity mankind’s higher nature in all his works. When asked to put into words what motivated him to create movies he said:

“My films must let every man, woman, and child know that God loves them, that I love them, and that peace and salvation will become a reality only when they all learn to love each other”

Interestingly enough, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is also ranked among the top movies that help people see the problems with big business vs small business, and sociopaths vs empaths.

Have a great day, and I hope you enjoy the article.


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