Would you believe that, despite its appearance on television every year around this time, I had not until tonight see It’s A Wonderful Life in full? As it was, I even missed the first half hour or so. But once I realized it was on, I decided it was time, and I was not disappointed.
Of course, I was a total history nerd about it: after watching for about 30 minutes, I turned to JP and asked when he thought it was made. He guessed ’50s, I was going for ’40s, and as soon as I saw the bit about Bailey Park I revised that to postwar — sure enough, 1946 it is. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s twentieth century American history in action!
Having never before known the larger story — the financial stuff, the social class issues, the community theme — I found the film to be enormously rich, and the Potter’s Field allusions rounded out the religious tale nicely. The famous ending sequence — the only bit of the film I’d ever really seen before, apart from the early George/Mary “Buffalo Gals” scene — is so much more intense and satisfying with the long emotional buildup preceding it. Probably a rather, well, obvious point, but it stands. I was curled up in the easy chair, hands clasped — I’ll admit it, I nearly lost it when the entire family embraced on the stairs.
If I felt great after nine straight hours of writing today, then I can certify that, with a good dinner, some wine, some coffee, and a good film under my belt, I am feeling even better. A little reading: and then sleep! It’s another full day tomorrow.


2 thoughts on “Aceldama.

  1. Not only do I believe it, but I, too, have never seen the movie. Every year, around Christmastime, my father and I have the same conversation at least three times.
    dad: something something It’s a Wonderful Life something something…
    me: you know, I’ve never seen that movie.
    dad: what!?
    And each time, the “what” with the same amount of shock.
    My hope: that THIS IS THE YEAR.

  2. I’ve never seen it either. I think it’s like people who live in Boston their whole lives but never see the Freedom Trail, or live in NYC and never go to Ellis Island or the Empire State Building. It’s always there, so there’s no motivation, ya know?
    P.S. Anna, there’s no way this is the year. 🙂

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