Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

Cover of "It's a Wonderful Life [Blu-ray]...
The real estate market is quite slow at the moment, and we should all be in the holiday spirit. I recently watched a few Christmas movies, and it's sure about time to mention them here.

A few years ago I went into a shop with the sole intention of purchasing a copy of It's A Wonderful Life on video, and then taking it back home to watch it. I had recorded copies in the past which of course was just not good enough and one November day I wanted to watch the film and didn't have a copy to hand. I decided in that moment that I had to rush out and find a shop with the video for sale (this was before the whole DVD thing). I scanned the shelves of all the shops that sold videos in the town until I found a last copy in a major retail chain. I carefully carried it to the counter holding on, hoping nothing would go wrong and interrupt my planned afternoon of James Stewart viewing. When I reached the counter I was served by the most sour-faced and miserable woman I think I have ever met. Of course I had the biggest grin you've ever seen. This only made matters worse. She looked at me like I had a hole in my head. She stared at the video confused but I just kept on grinning. I couldn't help it. I was about to watch It's A Wonderful Life for billionth time and it was at that point I realized there were actually people out there who either haven't seen or don't understand how wonderful a film can be.

I is for It's A Wonderful Life

I have absolutely no recollection of the first time I saw It's A Wonderful Life and I presume the same will be true of many of the people who will read this (if anyone reads it at all!). It just seems to have been part of my life for so long that it's a strange intangible member of the family who only comes to visit around this time of year. Only the don't because I tend to find myself watching this any time of year. In fact I recently found a channel on television which seems to show the film once a month (that's "Open Access 2" in the US on Sky Digital, I believe but I can't remember correctly. It's about 4 pages down the program guide. This sort of repeating of a good film is uncommon in the US. The channel also seem to show The Third Man and The Seven Samurai every so often but most of the time it's just one of those channels you don't pay attention to). It's unbelievable how often I've come across it and thought "No, you have to go off and do something else" but have been unable to pull myself from the story of George Bailey and how he learnt to live again. My video copy is a tad worn even though it's only a few years old and I know I'm not alone. Obviously it's hard to explain why it's so popular beyond the feel-good ending and the compelling Bailey. It's even harder to explain why it's so important to me, after all many would say that it is only a film. Perhaps they're right but if they can't see the range of emotions, the laughs and the tears, the sheer joy the film brings me and people like me then they are just plain blind. It is one of the most life affirming pieces of art ever made. Along with Harvey and Vertigo this would rank in my top three favorite films (yeah I know that they're all Stewart but that's just coincidence and by the looks of it a good choice of which films to make). For some reason I felt I should end this entry with my favorite line from the film because it makes me smile every time as the young Mary leans over the counter in old man Gower's drugstore and whispers "George Bailey, I'll love you 'til the day I die."

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