What does it take to make an immortal film?
Every time I get a chance to watch an old classic I feel compelled to search for an answer to this question. Honestly what it takes to make your work so timelessly beautiful that even after 60 years people would adore the work. I don't know the answer perhaps those were the golden days of storytelling. There are so many great stories told in the 40s and 50s era which still looks so relevant and beautiful. Never the less, as a lover of good cinema I am happy with so many pearls at my disposal.
It’s a wonderful Life even after 66 years of its release time still looks so breathtakingly beautiful. It being considered as one of the most inspirational American cinema does not conceal the fact that it bombed at box office in 1946 largely due to the high production cost and perhaps due the theme but still it is a classic in true sense because of an incredibly moving story and some spectacular acting.
The story looks at the life of George Bailey (James Stewart) confined in the mediocre life in Bedford Falls. He wants to travel the world and aspires to become an architect creating beautiful structures instead as his fate turns out he is struck with the old building and loan, a lending firm formed by his idealistic father. He also finds an enemy in Mr. Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), a slumlord who wants to take over everything in the city. Bailey the kind hearted city boy is the only one who can stop Potter through his compassionate heart and his father’s legacy – the Building & Loan.
The story takes us through an emotional ride through the entire life of George Bailey till we reach the D day on a Christmas Eve when Bailey almost loses it. Then enters his Guardian Angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), Angel Second Class who intervenes his suicide attempt and shows him how his life connects that of so many people around him and wins him his life in the end while earning his own wings.
The story is very lively and moving and the direction by Frank Capra is very competent. He never interrupts the narrative and the screenplay remains free flowing through out. The humour is very subtle and real funny and there are certain heart worming scenes that truly touched my heart. The fact that I watched the colourised version adds brownie points ( Though the Critics hated it), the film looks spectacular on screen. The film also has a formidable star cast. The legendary James Stewart as George Bailey is energetic as usual and steals the show. Donna Reid as Mary Hatch Bailey, Bailey’s wife looks out of the world. She looked one of the best on screen ever. The supporting cast also looks brilliant. All in all what a movie experience it has been. I have watched it thrice so far and still it looks so fresh.
I am going with 10 out of 10 for this all time classic; I just love this one so much that this is in my list of all time favourites