חזרה

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

For Hicksflicks.com, Dec. 13, 2013

If you've never seen "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946, b/w) on a movie screen, now's your chance.

Yes, that "It's a Wonderful Life," the classic Frank Capra film about George Bailey, a desperate man contemplating suicide when an angel rescues him and gives him an opportunity to see what the world would have been like if he'd never been born.

It's a startlingly resonate concept, even in the cynical 21st century, and James Stewart is perfect as the everyman who tries to break away from his small town life to see the world but lets family obligations and loyalty to friends and neighbors get in the way.

Naturally, George ultimately discovers that nothing the world has to offer can match the devotion of loved ones.

I know, you've seen it a thousand times; it's shown over and over around the holidays. But there's something about this movie that pulls you in all the same. And watching it front to back in a darkened theater with no distractions elevates and expands the experience, even if you think you know it well.

There are always elements of nuance or visual gags or background images or ominous foreshadowings that are lost on a TV screen, even if you have one that boasts 60 or 70 inches. And if the phone rings or the doorbell announces a visitor, the mood is broken.

But in a theater, you get sucked into the story, participate in the experience, allow your emotions to cut loose and you laugh and cry (bring Kleenex), even while trying to surreptitiously wipe the tears.

It's a singular experience, and few movies can sweep you away like "It's a Wonderful Life."

This is Capra at his finest and loaded with great performances — Donna Reed as sweet Mary, Lionel Barrymore as greedy Mr. Potter, Thomas Mitchell as distracted Uncle Billy, Gloria Grahame as sexy Violet, Ward Bond and Frank Faylen as … wait for it … the inimitable Bert & Ernie, Beulah Bondi as George's mother, and, of course, Henry Travers as the delightful apprentice angel Clarence.

And you have plenty of chances to see it on a theater screen over the next couple of weeks. Friday (Dec. 13) at Brigham Young University in Provo, or Sunday (Dec. 15) at various Cinemark theaters around the country, and then Cinemark offers repeat performances on Wednesday (Dec. 18) and Christmas Eve (Tuesday, Dec. 24). And the Broadway Centre downtown will offer free showings of the film on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.