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It's a Wonderful Life (1946) -- why does...


DVDPhreak
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Like many of you, I take some time this time of year to revisit this film, whether on TCM or by watching the roughly 10 copies I own of this film on VHS, laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray, streaming, B/W & colorized versions, etc.

 

Anyone finds it strange that George falls into the water repeatedly in the film??  He does it as a boy, in high school, and in his fateful encounter with the angel.  Is there some significance about this?  Some kind of foreboding, foreshadowing, or whatever?  That would be kind a deep for a movie like this, wouldn't it?

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Like many of you, I take some time this time of year to revisit this film, whether on TCM or by watching the roughly 10 copies I own of this film on VHS, laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray, streaming, B/W & colorized versions, etc.

 

Anyone finds it strange that George falls into the water repeatedly in the film??  He does it as a boy, in high school, and in his fateful encounter with the angel.  Is there some significance about this?  Some kind of foreboding, foreshadowing, or whatever?  That would be kind a deep for a movie like this, wouldn't it?

 

Well DVDPhreak, considering there's a lot of references to Christian ideology in the movie, and exemplified by it starting out with three angels up in heaven conversing about a lost soul who's at the end of his rope, perhaps all that water you're talking about here in the film has something to do with the idea of baptism?

 

(...other than THAT, all I got here is that maybe Capra always had a thing for Esther Williams and secretly always wanted to direct her in a picture)   ;)

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Never thought of that angle.  I suppose you could look at it that way.  I always figured that Capra(or the writers) used this vehicle because George was considering suicide, and jumping off of bridges WAS a common way that's been used.

 

Besides, it was never clear that he owned a gun, and he DID stomp out of the house forgetting to take his razor, and since it was Christmas Eve, the stores were too crowded and possibly all SOLD OUT of rope.

 

MY one wonder was....

 

Since George had "never been born"  therefore eliminating any other prospect, wouldn't then Mary have married Sam Wainwright, and therefore NOT have been an "old maid"?

 

Sepiatone

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Maybe the story simply "requires" him to fall into the water so has one deaf ear, which is sort of a running gag in the film.  After he jumps into the water to save Clarence, he says his ear is good again perhaps because of the jump.  The falls may be coincidences, but his ear is definitely significant in showing he has physical flaws.

 

Also, during his "honeymoon," he has to move in to a house with a broken roof and leaky walls and floors on a rainy night, and he is also soaking wet on that scene.  And the film makes a joke of it by having water pouring out of his hat when he greets his friends.

 

Together with the tears of sorrow, tears of joy, the snow, etc., this is one soggy film.

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Well DVDPhreak, considering there's a lot of references to Christian ideology in the movie, and exemplified by it starting out with three angels up in heaven conversing about a lost soul who's at the end of his rope, perhaps all that water you're talking about here in the film has something to do with the idea of baptism?

 

(...other than THAT, all I got here is that maybe Capra always had a thing for Esther Williams and secretly always wanted to direct her in a picture)   ;)

Capra offered Esther the role of Apple Annie in POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES. Her turning him  down so depressed him that he never made another movie.

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Never thought of that angle.  I suppose you could look at it that way.  I always figured that Capra(or the writers) used this vehicle because George was considering suicide, and jumping off of bridges WAS a common way that's been used.

 

Besides, it was never clear that he owned a gun, and he DID stomp out of the house forgetting to take his razor, and since it was Christmas Eve, the stores were too crowded and possibly all SOLD OUT of rope.

 

MY one wonder was....

 

Since George had "never been born"  therefore eliminating any other prospect, wouldn't then Mary have married Sam Wainwright, and therefore NOT have been an "old maid"?

 

Sepiatone

 

Wait a second here, Sepia. This flick features a freakin' old feeble wingless ANGEL, and you're thinkin' Mary Hatch endin' up an old maid in the alternate universe Pottersville is a little far-fatched??? 

 

;)

 

Okay, actually, yeah I have to agree with ya here. The Bedford Falls Mary was much too outgoing, vivacious, attractive  and desirable a young lady to have never married and to have become that old maid. Yep, most likely she would have married Sam Wainwright, leaving Pottersville and have ended up at least financially far better off.

 

(...and then a few years later and once she found Sam had been cheatin' on her with his secretary and every blonde little floozy he put the moves on, she would have ended up with a very nice alimony settlement, and which would have included that deeee-lux apartment on the Upper East Side just off Central Park!)

 

LOL 

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Anyone finds it strange that George falls into the water repeatedly in the film??

 

Well funny it never occurred to me before.

It's assumed the "spark" of the story was an incident that happened on Seneca Falls' NY bridge. A despondent lady jumped off the bridge to end her life, and the man who jumped in to save her lost his life. So that "fall in the water" was already part of the story.

 

I do think this last of George's fall is an allegory for baptism-reborn, well, never born. George's "I want to live again!" is a handkerchief moment for me, at least, no matter how many times I see it. (and it's often)

 

The fall into the water at the beginning is simply a plot point for George losing his hearing, as is the falling into the pool at the school dance. There may be a connection, but I don't see it.

 

I'll bring it up to my movie buddy while we're eating popcorn before the screening tomorrow night. Otherwise, I'll just enjoy the story without overthinking it.

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Wait a second here, Sepia. This flick features a freakin' old feeble wingless ANGEL, and you're thinkin' Mary Hatch endin' up an old maid in the alternate universe Pottersville is a little far-fatched??? 

 

;)

 

Okay, actually, yeah I have to agree with ya here. The Bedford Falls Mary was much too outgoing, vivacious, attractive  and desirable a young lady to have never married and to have become that old maid. Yep, most likely she would have married Sam Wainwright, leaving Pottersville and have ended up at least financially far better off.

 

(...and then a few years later and once she found Sam had been cheatin' on her with his secretary and every blonde little floozy he put the moves on, she would have ended up with a very nice alimony settlement, and which would have included that deeee-lux apartment on the Upper East Side just off Central Park!)

 

LOL 

She may have become an old maid by choice. Pottersville was not exactly filled with good catches. Sam Wainwright? Who wants to marry a guy whose claim to fame is "hee-haw"?

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She may have become an old maid by choice. Pottersville was not exactly filled with good catches. Sam Wainwright? Who wants to marry a guy whose claim to fame is "hee-haw"?

 

Well, just of the top of my head, I'd say maybe either Buck Owen's or Roy Clark's wives.

 

(...and maybe Grandpa Jones')

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Dargo, it's time to take our show on the road. Either that, or one of us runs for President and the other Vice-President.

 

Ready when you are, CB...err...Rich.

 

(...however, let's remember that we won't be able to use that "I'm a'pickin', and I'm a'grinnin'" line, 'cause Buck and Roy already have dibs on that one)

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BTW---what WAS it they used for the SNOW in that flick?  The most REALISTIC looking movie snow I can recall EVER seeing.

 

I read somewhere it was some kind of soap.

 

Which I suppose, means it's a movie full of good, CLEAN family fun!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Anyone finds it strange that George falls into the water repeatedly in the film??

 

Well funny it never occurred to me before.

It's assumed the "spark" of the story was an incident that happened on Seneca Falls' NY bridge. A despondent lady jumped off the bridge to end her life, and the man who jumped in to save her lost his life. So that "fall in the water" was already part of the story.

 

I do think this last of George's fall is an allegory for baptism-reborn, well, never born. George's "I want to live again!" is a handkerchief moment for me, at least, no matter how many times I see it. (and it's often)

 

The fall into the water at the beginning is simply a plot point for George losing his hearing, as is the falling into the pool at the school dance. There may be a connection, but I don't see it.

 

I'll bring it up to my movie buddy while we're eating popcorn before the screening tomorrow night. Otherwise, I'll just enjoy the story without overthinking it.

 

u r so write hear Tiki. ;)

 

And yeah, that scene along with Harry Bailey's "To my big brother, George. The richest man in town" toast to him and then the look on Jimmy's face always gives me a few sniffles too.

 

(...in fact, I've always said Jimmy's performance in this film is one of the all-time best by any actor in any film ever made)

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...The Bedford Falls Mary was much too outgoing, vivacious, attractive  and desirable a young lady to have never married and to have become that old maid. Yep, most likely she would have married Sam Wainwright, leaving Pottersville and have ended up at least financially far better off. ...

 

Yes, Mary becoming the prosperous Mrs. Sam Wainwright would definitely have been a possibility if George Bailey had never been born.  But that's assuming that Sam and his father (whom George mentions in a phone conversation as looking for a factory site) would have retained their successful business in Pottersville.  

 

As long as we're spinning out "what if's" about a movie that has "what if" as its central theme, what if Mr. Potter, not one inclined to share business advantages with others, had driven the Wainwright Company out of business while Sam was still a young man?  After all, we're looking at a town where the Bailey Bros. Building & Loan has failed (probably through Potter's machinations), and the bank controlled by Potter is the only source of capital for a businessman like Mr. Wainwright, Sam's father.  Potter doesn't seem like a person who's going to help someone else become rich if he can keep it all for himself.  He might decline to invest in the promising Wainwright business just to show that he has the power to do so.  He's that mean.

 

And what if Sam, because of his father's business failure, ends up working for a pittance as a clerk in Potter's bank?  Instead of making a fortune in the family business by supplying plastic hoods for World War II fighter planes, Sam is barely scraping by, living in one of Potter's rental shacks (which was never replaced by the clean new homes in Bailey Park), too poor to think about getting married to Mary or anyone else.

 

In that scenario, Mary ends up as a timid librarian, defeated by life after seeing her sweetheart Sam become a broken man, another victim of Potter.  (Capra could have added another 15 minutes to the movie to explain all of this -- but it obviously wasn't necessary.)

 

...I do think this last of George's fall is an allegory for baptism-reborn, well, never born. George's "I want to live again!" is a handkerchief moment for me, at least, no matter how many times I see it. (and it's often) ...

 

"I want to live again!" is surely one of the most affecting moments in the film.  Another scene that brings up the same feeling for me is when Clarence pushes the snow away from Harry Bailey's gravestone, and George understands that because he wasn't there to save Harry when he fell through the ice, Harry wasn't there during the war to save the servicemen on a transport ship from a suicide plane.  Each person's life affects so many others ...

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BTW---what WAS it they used for the SNOW in that flick?  The most REALISTIC looking movie snow I can recall EVER seeing.

 

I read somewhere it was some kind of soap.

 

Which I suppose, means it's a movie full of good, CLEAN family fun!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

http://gizmodo.com/5870771/hollywood-invented-a-new-type-of-fake-snow-to-film-its-a-wonderful-life

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I do think this last of George's fall is an allegory for baptism-reborn, well, never born. George's "I want to live again!" is a handkerchief moment for me, at least, no matter how many times I see it. (and it's often)

 

What adds additional power to that scene is composer Dimitri Tiomkin's adaptation of the Gregorian chant "Dies Irae," which, interestingly, means "day of wrath." That theme appears in many films, including The Shining, The Mephisto Waltz, and is used during the opening credits of The Return of Dracula.

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BTW---what WAS it they used for the SNOW in that flick?  The most REALISTIC looking movie snow I can recall EVER seeing.

 

 

But not when George and Clarence are in the water.  You can still see the large pieces of artificial snow sticking on their faces, when it should've been washed away by the water.

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But not when George and Clarence are in the water.  You can still see the large pieces of artificial snow sticking on their faces, when it should've been washed away by the water.

 

That's always the problem when ya use soap flakes that aren't 99 44/100 percent pure for this kind'a thing, ya know.

 

;)

 

(...yep, I guess Capra was just too cheap to spring for the higher cost of Ivory Soap flakes in that concoction of his, huh)

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Re: Mary Hatch marrying Sam Wainwright.

 

C'mon, as goody goody Mary is, I doubt very much she'd actually go along with her mother's wishes & marry Sam Wainwright. What young gal EVER DOES what her Mother wants?

 

Capra's ideal woman would have had a lifelong crush on one boy only. If that boy died, she'd pine for him her entire life. She'd be so devastated, she'd never love anyone ever again and be a simpering old maid.

The only thing that made her "vivacious" and "outgoing" was George Bailey's love.

 

Oy, I can't stand that kind of "loyal woman" ideal.

 

And remember, before Sam Wainwright called her, she was conversing with ALFALFA at the school Christmas Party. Slim pickin's, indeed.

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