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It's a Wonderful Life

Shown at the Glorious Hyland Drive-In

A holiday favourite for generations… George Bailey has spent his entire life giving to the people of Bedford Falls. All that prevents rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town is George’s modest building and loan company. But on Christmas Eve the business’s $8,000 is lost and George’s troubles begin.

What is remarkable about "It's a Wonderful Life" is how well it holds up over the years; it's one of those ageless movies, like "Casablanca" or "The Third Man," that improves with age. Some movies, even good ones, should only be seen once. When we know how they turn out, they've surrendered their mystery and appeal. Other movies can be viewed an indefinite number of times. Like great music, they improve with familiarity. "It's a Wonderful Life" falls in the second category.

It also isn't just a heart-warming "message picture." The conclusion of the film makes such an impact that some of the earlier scenes may be overlooked--such as the slapstick comedy of the high school hop, where the dance floor opens over a swimming pool, and Stewart and Reed accidentally jitterbug right into the water. (This covered pool was not a set but actually existed at Hollywood High School). There's also the drama of George rescuing his younger brother from a fall through the ice, and the scene where Donna Reed loses her bathrobe and Stewart ends up talking to the shrubbery. The telephone scene--where an angry Stewart and Reed find themselves helplessly drawn toward each other--is wonderfully romantically charged. And the darker later passages have an elemental power, as the drunken George Bailey staggers through a town he wants to hate, and then revisits it through the help of a gentle angel. Even the corniest scenes in the movie--those galaxies that wink while the heavens consult on George's fate--work because they are so disarmingly simple.

Courtesy - Roger Ebert,

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Directed by: 
Frank Capra
Running Time: 
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
Screenplay by: 
Francis Goodrich based on a story by Philip Van Doren Stern

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