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A Frank Capra Marathon In December...But No "It's a Wonderful Life"?!?


Casathious
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I received my long-awaited December issue of "Now Playing" in the mail today that features Humphrey Bogart on the cover. While I am always eager to see what films are scheduled for a particular month, I especially await the December issue with bated breath as I love seeing what holiday films will be shown around Christmastime. When the issue finally arrived and I saw the cover, I became doubly excited, since in the lower left-hand corner it made specific mention of not only holiday films but also the man responsible for the all-time greatest of such Christmas films, "It's a Wonderful Life", Frank Capra! So, I opened the magazine up looked for the featured pages about the films; there was a full-page spread about Capra's films, directly adjacent to a full-page spread titled "Home for the Holidays", discussing the Christmas films on the schedule. I read both of these articles, assuming that "It's a Wonderful Life's" inclusion on the month's schedule was a foregone conclusion. However, much to my shock and dismay, when I turned to pages 18-19 to see the complete titles and times scheduled, I could not find "It's a Wonderful Life" on the schedule. I thought that I must be mistaken, or that it must have been erroneously omitted. Yet, when I turned to the title index in the back, I was stunned to discover it was indeed absent from the schedule.

 

Now, I ask you fellow viewers, am I the only one who is stunned and perturbed by this omission? I personally frankly cannot believe that, around Christmastime, when one would expect to see the film on television regardless, that "It's a Wonderful Life" would not be shown during the very time of year it is most appropriate to be seen, on the best possible channel on which it can be seen, and during a marathon devoted to the film's director, no less! And of course the irony is further enhanced by advertising the respective Frank Capra and Holiday Movie marathon's right next to each other in the magazine.

 

Please tell me I am warranted in my indignation; if anyone else is similarly annoyed or wishes to add any input, I welcome your responses!

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I love Capra and the prospect of seeing not only MEET JOHN DOE (which is airing) alongside IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is an intriguing and wonderful one!!! I only wish! It would be so magical to see! It seems so appropriate for Frank Capra to be featured in December for that very reason! Alas and alack, NBC (which shows ads!!!! *frowny face*) has the rights to air that holiday season classic and no other station (including TCM) can air it. It's hard to be indignant or upset with TCM, they simply can't do it. If we want to get upset, we can do it with the copyright office, I guess, as wow, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE used to be aired all over the cable dial back in those halcyon days of 80's cable, when black and white films and TV shows would show up on any channel at any given time and cable was much more unpredictable and fun!

 

Anyway, can't get upset with TCM over this, no way, no how. It would be awesome to see, and one day, when NBC's contract is up, maybe one day we'll see TCM acquire the rights to air this GREAT flick...but until then, I'll groove hard to the many rare and rarely seen Capra films that they *will* be airing this December!!! Rock on!

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I would not blame TCM because they have no control over the rights. This is the same reason why TCM can not play The Sound Of Music because ABC has exclusive rights. If you really like the movie then why not buy or rent the DVD. Actually you probably could get it from your local library because around where I live, It's A Wonderful Life DVD is readily available at my library.

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> {quote:title=Casathious wrote:}{quote}

> However, much to my shock and dismay, when I turned to pages 18-19 to see the complete titles and times scheduled, I could not find "It's a Wonderful Life" on the schedule. I thought that I must be mistaken, or that it must have been erroneously omitted. Yet, when I turned to the title index in the back, I was stunned to discover it was indeed absent from the schedule.

>

> Now, I ask you fellow viewers, am I the only one who is stunned and perturbed by this omission? I personally frankly cannot believe that, around Christmastime, when one would expect to see the film on television regardless, that "It's a Wonderful Life" would not be shown during the very time of year it is most appropriate to be seen, on the best possible channel on which it can be seen, and during a marathon devoted to the film's director, no less!

>

> Please tell me I am warranted in my indignation; if anyone else is similarly annoyed or wishes to add any input, I welcome your responses!

 

No offense, but your indignation is very misplaced, IMHO. NBC snagged up EXCLUSIVE rights to It's A Wonderful Life sometime in the mid-90's....which is the very reason NBC is the ONLY channel/station/etc. which shows it during the season, and usually twice. Before that, while the movie was still in Public Domain as it had been for decades, ANY channel could show it and ANY video company could release it.....which is the reason there were so many crummy quality videos and tv prints, and it was shown repeatedly during the holiday season to the point of nausea.

 

Years ago, when movies like The Wizard of Oz were shown ONCE a year on television, it was a highly anticipated and SPECIAL event to look forward to....unlike nowadays when so many movies are repeated over and over again ad nauseum.

 

I'm really surprised that you're just now discovering/reacting to NBC's exclusiveness to the movie....when in fact it's been their exclusive for well over12 years or so now. Same thing with Republic Video's EXCLUSIVE home video release....unlike years before when literally DOZENS of companies had it out.

 

You're just realizing this??

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I expect this holiday season to be an especially "tetchy" one. Beyond the No *It's A Wonderful Life? threads I am bracing for the "Why no White Christmas?", "Why no The Bishop's Wife?" and "Why no A Christmas Story?" comments.

 

Recommending *Remember The Night* and *It Happened On Fifth Avenue* will only go so far.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> *Not this again. Every friggin' year...*

>

> Just like death, taxes and complaints about *31 Days of Oscar*, some things around here never change.

 

What's up with TCM showing all these newer movies lately????

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*princesalino wrote:*

*Not this again. Every friggin' year...*

 

*lzcutter wrote:*

*Just like death, taxes and complaints about 31 Days of Oscar, some things around here never change.*

 

*Scsu wrote:*

*What's up with TCM showing all these newer movies lately????*

 

Like I said, wiseacre!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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> {quote:title=PrinceSaliano wrote:}{quote}

> But complaints against 31 Days of Oscar are legitimate.

> ;-)

 

 

While I'm bored by 31 Days of Oscar by this time (I've been watching since the channel's been on cable) I think it's proper that TCM takes time every year to showcase their ability to show 80 years worth of films that have been nominated or won Oscars. No other movie channel takes history seriously whereas it's TCM's whole mission--to show the great and not so great films that were honored. It's just that it's all so repetitive and there are films that are never shown that I would like to see, such as Cavalcade (I've heard it's not that good but it's one of the few pre 1960 best picture winners I've never seen.)

 

As far as *It's a Wonderful Life* I don't care if they show it or not. It's not a favorite of mine but I don't hate it either. I've seen it so I'm not going to get myself worked up over the fact that TCM is not showing it. My favorite Christmas movie would never be shown on TCM anyway.

 

Edited by: helenbaby on Nov 12, 2009 8:11 AM

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> {quote:title=hlywdkjk wrote:}{quote}

> I expect this holiday season to be an especially "tetchy" one. Beyond the No *It's A Wonderful Life? threads I am bracing for the "Why no White Christmas?", "Why no The Bishop's Wife?" and "Why no A Christmas Story?" comments.

>

> Recommending *Remember The Night* and *It Happened On Fifth Avenue* will only go so far.

>

> Kyle In Hollywood

 

How about *HOLIDAY INN*?? ;)

 

But while you're recommendin', don't forget the Sherlock Holmes fest over the Christmas weekend! They aren't Christmas films, per se, but they are like getting a Christmas gift!! :)

 

I have IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in several formats, so I'm cool with it. It would be great to see it one day on TCM and hopefully that will happen. While it's on NBC though, I actually maneuvered my family into watching it while visiting last year, and though they initially were freaked out by the presence of a B/W film on their television set, they got over it and actually enjoyed it! :)

 

I also love MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947 natch), but FMC usually shows that every holiday season (ad-free), so I'm grooving there too!

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I think I've watched It's a Wonderful Life in every single format ever - except blu-ray, but that's going to change this year, because I'll be renting or buying the blu-ray version for sure.

 

Actually, 3 of the top Christmas films - also including Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Carol (1951) - are now on blu-ray, so maybe I can do a triple feature right around the holidays.

 

Maybe TCM will get to show those one of these days, but for the time being, I'd rather watch these movies in high-definition for the first time. :)

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> "My favorite Christmas movie would never be shown on TCM anyway."

>

> BAD SANTA?

 

 

Ouch!! Okay, I deserved that one (I did find that movie pretty funny though!)

 

Actually, my favorite film to watch during the holidays, and don't laugh too much, is Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol, a made for TV cartoon that came out when I was a kid. So there's no way it's ever going to be on TCM.

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> We'll have the lord's bright blessing

> In knowing we're together.

> In knowing we're together hand in hand.

> We'll have the whitest Christmas.

> The whitest, brightest Christmas.

> A Christmas far more glorious than grand!

As I said, some really good songs. Thanks for the reminder...it brings back such nice memories even just reading the lyrics.

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Helen,

 

Christmas isn't the same without Mr. Magoo, Rudolph, the Grinch and the Peanuts gang. Wonderful holiday programs for those of us of a certain age.

 

Like you, Mr. Magoo is a favorite.

 

Nowdays, Mr Cutter and I celebrate the holidays with our annual screening of *The Ref* or as Mr Cutter calls it "visiting with your mother."

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*_Per Wikipedia_:*

 

 

 

*Ownership and copyright issues*

 

 

 

 

*Ancillary rights*

 

 

 

Liberty Films was purchased by Paramount Pictures, and remained a subsidiary until 1951. In 1955, M. & A. Alexander purchased the movie. This included key rights to the original television syndication, the original nitrate film elements, the music score, and the film rights to the story on which the film is based, "The Greatest Gift".National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to the film soon thereafter.

 

 

However, a clerical error at NTA prevented the copyright from being renewed properly in 1974. Despite the lapsed copyright, television stations that aired it still were required to pay royalties. Although the film's images had entered the public domain, the film's story was still protected by virtue of it being a derivative work of the published story "The Greatest Gift", whose copyright was properly renewed by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1971.The film became a perennial holiday favorite in the 1980s, possibly due to its repeated showings each holiday season on hundreds of local television stations. It was mentioned during the deliberations on the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.

 

 

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which was the successor to NTA, relied on the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Stewart v. Abend (which involved another Stewart film, Rear Window) to enforce its claim to the copyright. While the film's copyright had not been renewed, the plaintiffs were able to argue its status as a derivative work of a work still under copyright. It's a Wonderful Life is no longer shown as often on television as it was before enforcement of that derivative copyright. NBC is currently licensed to show the film on U.S. network television, and traditionally shows it twice during the holidays, with one showing on Christmas Eve. Paramount (via parent company Viacom's 1998 acquisition of Republic's then-parent, Spelling Entertainment) once again has ancillary rights for the first time since 1955, while NBC's broadcast rights are licensed from Trifecta Entertainment & Media (which holds television distribution of the Republic/Paramount theatrical library).

 

 

 

Due to all the above actions, this is one of the few RKO films not controlled by Turner Entertainment/Warner Bros. in the USA.

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