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It's A Wonderful Life (1947)
Director: Frank Capra

review by Debbie Moon

It's A Wonderful Life has been a cinematic landmark for so long now that it's difficult to get past the history and examine the film objectively. Indeed, society has changed so radically over the years that Bedford Falls has been transformed from an idealised present to a past that never really existed, a comment on the death of the 'American dream' itself.
   Yes, there is saccharine here, but less than you might remember. The film is warm-hearted, even sentimental, but it retains a sharp humour and genuine eye for character that many modern films would do well to emulate. The glimpse we finally receive of a world without George Bailey is genuinely shocking, a moral catastrophe on a positively Shakespearian scale, and despite their logic problems, the final scenes will melt even the hardest hearts.
   James Stewart gives a career best performance as an ordinary man driven to the point of suicide by one mistake, who subsequently finds himself the unwitting key to the lives of everyone around him. The supporting cast are excellent, and despite it's considerable length, the film simply flies by. In the unlikely event that you've never seen this world-class classic, go out and obtain a copy immediately. You won't regret it.
previously published online, VideoVista #24
It's A Wonderful Life
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