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Video rights in the rest of the world are held by different companies; for example, the UK rights are with Universal Studios. Predating commercial DVDs by several years, it included such features as the ability to follow along with the complete shooting script as the film was playing. Given the state of video playback on the PC at the time of its release, It's a Wonderful Life for Windows represented another first, as the longest running video on a computer.

Prior to its release, Windows could only play back approx. Computer Gaming World said in April that, "The picture quality still has a way to go before it reaches television standards", but was " The film has seen multiple DVD releases since the availability of the format. In the autumn of , Republic issued the movie twice, once in August, and again with different packaging in September of that same year.

On October 31, , Paramount released a newly restored "60th Anniversary Edition".

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On November 13, , Paramount released a two-disc "special edition" DVD of the film that contained both the original theatrical black-and-white version, and a new, third colorized version, produced by Legend Films using the latest colorization technology. It appears after the credits on a TV. James Stewart and Donna Reed reprised their roles for all three radio productions. Stewart also starred in the May 8, radio adaptation presented on the Screen Director's Playhouse.

This version was first performed at the University of Michigan in , but a planned professional production was stalled by legal wrangling with the estate of Philip Van Doren Stern. It was eventually performed in Washington, D. This version premiered at the Majestic Theatre , Dallas , Texas , in It was an annual Christmas show at the theatre for five years. It has since been performed at venues all around the United States. The film was also adapted into a play in two acts by James W. The play opens with George Bailey contemplating suicide and then goes back through major moments in his life.

Many of the scenes from the movie are only alluded to or mentioned in the play rather than actually dramatized. For example, in the opening scene Clarence just mentions George having saved his brother Harry after the latter had fallen through the ice. The script is published by Playscripts, Inc. Philip Grecian's radio play based on the film It's a Wonderful Life is a faithful adaptation, now in its third incarnation, that has been performed numerous times by local theatres in Canada.

The novel imagines the future lives of various characters if George had not survived his jump into the river. The film was remade as the television movie It Happened One Christmas. Lionel Chetwynd based the screenplay on the original Van Doren Stern short story and the screenplay. In a significant departure from his earlier roles, Orson Welles was cast as Mr. In , another made-for-television film called Clarence starred Robert Carradine in a new tale of the helpful angel.

A purported sequel was in development for a release, and was to be called It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story. It was to be written by Bob Farnsworth and Martha Bolton and follow the angel of George Bailey's daughter Zuzu played once again by Karolyn Grimes , as she teaches Bailey's evil grandson how different the world would have been if he had never been born.

The film had been announced as being produced by Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions, neither of which are affiliated with Paramount, owners of the original film Farnsworth claimed that It's a Wonderful Life was in the public domain. Later, a Paramount spokesperson claimed that they were not granting permission to make the film, "To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights", the spokesperson said.

In a review, film historian James Berardinelli commented on the parallels between this film and the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. In both stories, a man revisits his life and potential death or non-existence with the help of supernatural agents, culminating in a joyous epiphany and a renewed view of his life. It is commonly believed that the characters of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the cabdriver; however, in a correction for the "Annual Xmas Quiz" in the San Francisco Chronicle , which made this claim, series writer Jerry Juhl confirmed that, as per producer Jon Stone , the shared names were merely a coincidence.

The pair are surprised by the line: "Bert! What's the matter with you two guys? You were here on my wedding night! Template:Commons category Template:Wikiquote. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki.

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Add Video. Add Image. Contents [ show ]. File:It's a Wonderful Life. Template:Cite web Blockbuster Inc. Retrieved: August 2, December 16, Retrieved December 24, Failure Magazine n. Retrieved: June 2, The New York Times , April 23, , p. Frank Capra online Template:Webarchive.


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The Buffalo News , November 16, Retrieved: December 29, Retrieved: December 23, Retrieved: December Retrieved: August 25, Template:Webarchive objectivistcenter. Time , December 23, Retrieved: June 8, The New York Times , December 23, American Film Institute via ComingSoon. Retrieved: June 18, American Film Institute. The New Republic , January 6, The New York Times , December 18, Retrieved: December 20, Retrieved: January 7, Retrieved: August 17, Retrieved 15 June Copyright Office.

Retrieved: November 8, September 20, By United States. Committee on the Judiciary, United States. Published by U. Retrieved October 29, TCM Movie Database , Retrieved: September 10, Chicago Sun-Times , January 1, Retrieved: February 24, Retrieved: May 29, Fort Worth Star-Telegram , December 14, Retrieved: July 31, The Free Lance-Star , December 11, The San Francisco Chronicle January 3, Smith Goes to Washington Henry Fonda , arguably Stewart's best friend, was also considered.

Smith Goes to Washington, was first offered the role of Mary, but had a prior commitment on Broadway. Rogers turned it down because she considered it "too bland". In chapter 26 of her autobiography Ginger: My Story , she questioned her decision by asking her readers: "Foolish, you say? Warner , who was cast as the drugstore owner Mr.

Gower, had studied medicine before going into acting. He was also in some of Capra's other films, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. DeMille 's The King of Kings Also on Gower Street was a drugstore that was a favorite for the studio's employees.

Covering 4 acres 1. Due to the requirements of filming in an "alternate reality", as well as different seasons, the exterior set was extremely adaptable. RKO studio's head of special effects, Russell Shearman , developed a new compound using water, soap flakes, foamite, and sugar to create "chemical snow" for the film. Before then, movie snow was usually made from untoasted cornflakes, which were so loud when stepped on that dialogue had to be redubbed afterwards. Filming started on April 15, , and wrapped on July 27, , exactly on deadline for the day principal photography schedule.

Only two locations from the film survive.

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The first, the swimming pool that was unveiled during the high-school dance sequence, is located in the gymnasium at Beverly Hills High School and is still in use as of [update]. The scene where young George saves his brother Harry from drowning was different in an early draft of the script. The boys play ice hockey on the river which is on Potter's property as Potter watches with disdain. George shoots the puck, but it goes astray and breaks the "No Trespassing" sign and lands in Potter's yard.

Potter becomes irate and the gardener releases the attack dogs, which cause the boys to flee. Harry falls in the ice and George saves him with the same results. In another draft, after he unsuccessfully attempts to consult his father about his drugstore dilemma, George considers asking Uncle Billy, but Billy is on the phone with the bank examiner. Billy lights his cigar and throws his match in the wastebasket. George turns to Tilly who, along with Eustace, are his cousins, although not Billy's kids , but she is on the phone with her friend, Martha.

She says, "Potter's here, the bank examiner's coming. It's a day of judgement. Tilly runs in and puts the fire out with a pot of coffee. George decides to deal with the situation by himself.

It's a Wonderful Life "You Look About Like the Kinda Angel I'd Get"

According to Bobby Anderson, in the confrontation between Mr. Gower and young George, H. Warner slapped him for real and made his ear bleed, reducing him to tears. Warner hugged him after the scene was shot. Composer Dimitri Tiomkin had written "Death Telegram" and "Gower's Deliverance" for the drugstore sequence, but Capra elected to forgo music in those scenes. Tiomkin had worked on many of Capra's previous films, but those changes, and others, led to a falling out between the two men.

Tiomkin felt as though his work was being seen as a mere suggestion. In his autobiography Please Don't Hate Me , he said of the incident, "an all around scissors job". Uncle Billy yells, "I'm all right! I'm all right! According to rare stills that have been unearthed, several sequences were filmed but subsequently cut.

Capra's first script had Bailey fall to his knees to recite "The Lord's Prayer " the script also called for an opening scene with the townspeople in prayer. Feeling that an overly religious tone undermined the emotional impact of the family and friends rushing to George's rescue, the closing scenes were rewritten.

Capra found the film's original cinematographer Victor Milner slow and pretentious, and hired Joseph Walker. When Harry Cohn demanded that Walker return to Columbia Pictures to shoot a film for one of the studio's female stars, Walker trained Joseph Biroc to be his replacement. Although working with three cinematographers was difficult for Capra, it turned out very well in Walker's opinion because the scenes each cinematographer shot were so different that they did not have to match each other's visual styles.

According to a book, "A spate of movies appeared just after the ending of the Second World War, including It's a Wonderful Life and Stairway to Heaven , perhaps tapping into so many people's experience of loss of loved ones and offering a kind of consolation. Director Capra's inventiveness, humor, and affection for human beings keep it glowing with life and excitement. Bosley Crowther , writing for The New York Times , complimented some of the actors, including Stewart and Reed, but concluded, "the weakness of this picture, from this reviewer's point of view, is the sentimentality of it—its illusory concept of life.

Capra's nice people are charming, his small town is a quite beguiling place and his pattern for solving problems is most optimistic and facile.

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But somehow, they all resemble theatrical attitudes, rather than average realities. The film was supposed to be released in January , but was moved up to December to make it eligible for the Academy Awards. This move was seen as worse for the film, as did not have quite the stiff competition as If it had entered the awards, its biggest competition would have been Miracle on 34th Street. On May 26, , the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a memo stating, "With regard to the picture 'It's a Wonderful Life', [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a 'scrooge-type' so that he would be the most hated man in the picture.

This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. Potter gets away with robbery without being caught or punished in any way". In , It's a Wonderful Life was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

In June , AFI revealed its 10 Top 10 , the best 10 films in 10 "classic" American film genres, after polling over 1, people from the creative community. It's a Wonderful Life was acknowledged as the third-best film in the fantasy genre. Somewhat more iconoclastic views of the film and its contents are occasionally expressed. In his review for The New Republic in , film critic Manny Farber wrote, "To make his points, [Capra] always takes an easy, simple-minded path that doesn't give much credit to the intelligence of the audience", and adds that it has only a "few unsentimental moments here and there".

The Essential It's a Wonderful Life : A Scene-By-Scene Guide to the Classic Film

It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher, and your oppressively perfect wife. In the "Pottersville" sequence, he wrote, George Bailey is not seeing the world that would exist had he never been born, but rather "the world as it does exist, in his time and also in our own".

We all live in Pottersville now. The film's elevation to the status of a beloved classic came three decades after its initial release, when it became a television staple during Christmas season in I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be President. I'm proud I didn't even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea. The film's positive reception has continued into the present. The website's critical consensus reads, "The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It's a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing.

Prior to its Los Angeles release, Liberty Films mounted an extensive promotional campaign that included a daily advertisement highlighting one of the film's players, along with comments from reviewers. It's a Wonderful Life received five Academy Award nominations: [72]. The Best Years of Our Lives , a drama about servicemen attempting to return to their pre-World War II lives, won most of the awards that year, including four of the five for which It's a Wonderful Life was nominated.

The Best Years of Our Lives, directed by William Wyler , Capra's business partner along with George Stevens in Liberty Films, was also an outstanding commercial success, ultimately becoming the highest-grossing film of the decade, in contrast to the more modest initial box-office returns of It's a Wonderful Life.

Liberty Films was purchased by Paramount Pictures , and remained a subsidiary until In , M. Alexander purchased the movie.


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  • 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". A clerical error at NTA prevented the copyright from being renewed properly in It was mentioned during the deliberations on the Copyright Term Extension Act of 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, Republic still owned the film rights to "The Greatest Gift"; thus, the plaintiffs were able to argue its status as a derivative work of a work still under copyright. Paramount via parent company Viacom 's acquisition of Republic's then-parent, Spelling Entertainment once again has distribution rights for the first time since It is also one of two Capra films Paramount owns despite not having originally released it—the other is Broadway Bill originally from Columbia , remade by Paramount as Riding High in However, the film was believed to be in the public domain at the time, and as a result, Markle and Holmes responded by returning Capra's initial investment, eliminating his financial participation, and refusing outright to allow the director to exercise artistic control over the colorization of his films, leading Capra to join in the campaign against the process.

    Three colorized versions have been produced. The first was released by Hal Roach Studios in The second was authorized and produced by the film's permanent owner, Republic Pictures, in Both Capra and Stewart took a critical stand on the colorized editions. A third, computer-colorized version was produced by Legend Films in and has been released on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming services. Throughout the s and early s, when the film was still under public domain status, It's A Wonderful Life was released on VHS by a variety of home video companies.

    After Republic reclaimed the rights to the film, all unofficial VHS copies of the film in print were destroyed. Artisan was later sold to Lions Gate Entertainment , which continued to hold US home video rights until late , when they reverted to Paramount, which also owns video rights throughout Region 4 Latin America and Australia and in France. Video rights in the rest of the world are held by different companies; for example, the UK rights are with Universal Studios.

    Antedating commercial DVDs by several years, it included such features as the ability to follow along with the complete shooting script as the film was playing. Given the state of video playback on the PC at the time of its release, It's a Wonderful Life for Windows represented another first, as the longest-running video on a computer. Prior to its release, Windows could only play back about 32, frames of video, or about 35 minutes at 15 frames per second.

    Computer Gaming World said in April , "The picture quality still has a way to go before it reaches television standards", but was "a noble effort" that would "please fans of the film". The film has seen multiple DVD releases since the availability of the format. In the autumn of , Republic issued the movie twice, once in August, and again with different packaging in September of that same year. On October 31, , Paramount released a newly remastered "60th Anniversary Edition". On November 13, , Paramount released a two-disc "special edition" DVD of the film that contained both the original theatrical black-and-white version, and a new, third colorized version, produced by Legend Films using the latest colorization technology.

    On November 3, , Paramount re-released the previous DVD set as a "Collector's Edition" and debuted a Blu-ray edition, also containing both versions of the film. In , the film was restored in 4K resolution , available via streaming services and DCP. James Stewart and Donna Reed reprised their roles for all three radio productions.

    Stewart also starred in the May 8, radio adaptation presented on the Screen Directors Playhouse. This version was first performed at the University of Michigan in , but a planned professional production was stalled by legal wrangling with the estate of Philip Van Doren Stern. It was eventually performed in Washington, DC , by Arena Stage in , and had revivals in the 21st century, including a staged concert version in New York City in and several productions by regional theatres. This version premiered at the Majestic Theatre , Dallas , Texas , in It was an annual Christmas show at the theatre for five years.

    It has since been performed at venues all around the United States. In it, Buster Bunny feels sad after the failure of his play and wishes he had never become a Tiny Toon, so a guardian angel shows Buster what life would have been like without him. The film was also adapted into a play in two acts by James W. The play opens with George Bailey contemplating suicide and then goes back through major moments in his life.

    Many of the scenes from the movie are only alluded to or mentioned in the play rather than actually dramatized. For example, in the opening scene, Clarence just mentions George having saved his brother Harry after the latter had fallen through the ice. The script is published by Playscripts, Inc. Philip Grecian's radio play based on the film It's a Wonderful Life is a faithful adaptation, now in its third incarnation, that has been performed numerous times by local theatres in Canada. Potter Lionel Barrymore , a rich and arrogant banker who is blinded by greed and willing to ruin people like George for his own benefit.

    When examining the way It's a Wonderful Life reflects the immediate post-war years, we must consider the official release date — December 20, , only the second Christmas after the end of World War II. At that time, the entire world was in the process of reconstruction after years of unrelenting conflict and destruction. The film's optimism is not come by lightly but hard-earned through a process of suffering and learning.

    The first half of the film follows George from childhood through to adulthood, gradually revealing the ways in which bad things consistently happen to him in spite - and even because - of the fact that he always attempts to be a good man and sacrifices himself for others.