Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Posted by Oli on Monday 8th December, 2008

Don’t worry – I’m not about to spend another 500 words harping on about how brilliant the world is and everything that’s in it and how great my life is and how I love everything I can do that I couldn’t do before (I’ll probably get back to that tomorrow…).

No, this post is about the movie of the same name, the 1947 Frank Capra classic with James Stewart and that lady that K tells me went on to be in Oklahoma!

Our local Cineworld, despite having been kitted out with state-of-the-art digital technology as part of a Government scheme which was supposed to see more and more independent films hit the high-street, has a pretty poor record on showing anything that’s not a blockbuster.  So it was not only very refreshing, but also amazingly fulfilling to be able to go and see – for my first every viewing of the film – It’s A Wonderful Life on the big screen.

The flick is one that K likes to watch every Christmas without fail – it’s a perennial favourite of hers.  Last year she introduced it to my family, but over-dosing on immuno-suppressants as I was this time last year, I was upstairs trying to sleep and not throw up at the time.

So when we both heard that Cineworld was screening it, we knew we had to go.

The delightful thing about old films is how they take their time in telling their story.  They’re happy to wander and meander and see where they get to before the main bits kick in and they’re happy to settle for periods on minor details which nowadays would be incredibly plot-specific, but then were simply interesting things they wanted to show.

That’s also partially their downfall, though, too.  For no matter how much I want to watch some classic movies, I still find myself getting fidgety if I’m in an environment with lots of other things going on.  If I’m going to watch an old film, I need to be able to turn off my phone, close the curtains, turn the lights off and focus 100% on the screen and let myself get sucked right in.  It’s increasingly hard to do so in the modern world, though, so I fear I’ve not seen as many classics as I should have for such a profound movie lover.

It’s A Wonderful Life had all the elements to be a really disappointing film.  After all, how often have you heard someone rave about a movie for days on end and then when you see it there’s nothing there to back it up, or maybe it’s just been over-hyped in your mind.  This, however, was everything K said it was and more.  Clever, funny, emotional and kind-hearted, it’s the very definition of a feel-good Christmas movie, but not in the modern sense of garish colours and broad comedy – this is a movie to get swallowed up in and one which leaves you wishing you lived in the age when a man wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without a hat to tip to the ladies.  When women wore nothing that wasn’t immaculate and beautiful and when Hollywood was unafraid of the soft-focus close-up.

If Cineworld don’t have it back again next year, I swear I’m going to launch a sit-down protest in their popcorn machine.


One Response to “It’s a Wonderful Life”

  1. Woody said

    It’s a great film, and a lot darker than most people remember. Didn’t Capra get into trouble with McCArthy for the films’ allegedly socialist message?

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