Sunday, January 23, 2022

James Stewart Holiday Classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Celebrates 75th Anniversary With Restored Blu-Ray And NBC Airings

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The plain Christmas basic It’s A Wonderful Life is celebrating its diamond anniversary this season. Believe it or not, it has been 75 years since its launch in December 1946.

Considering it has change into the basic of classics for the yuletide season, this irresistible movie starring James Stewart as George Bailey, a suicidal man who receives a go to from an angel to indicate him what life would have been like if he had by no means existed, was mainly a field workplace flop upon its launch after it was rushed into theaters to interchange a movie that wasn’t prepared in time. Costing reportedly $3.7 million to make however solely incomes again $3.3 million, initially no less than, it was the primary vital return to appearing for Stewart after serving in World War II, and initially deliberate at one time to star Cary Grant.

It was solely a few years later, thanks largely to tv, that it discovered its true viewers and now, fairly frankly, it has outlived nearly each different movie launched that yr, and even many of the motion pictures of that decade.

Critics warmed to it on the time, some predicting main Oscar consideration; certainly, it did wind up with 5 nominations from the Academy together with Best Picture, Actor for Stewart, director for Frank Capra (who thought of it his favourite of all his movies), Sound and Editing. However, Oscar evening (March 13, 1947) was not type to the movie, the Christmas spirit of giving it any items of awards gone.

In reality, it was the one one of many 5 Best Picture nominees to obtain zero wins on that evening. The Best Years of Our Lives took Best Picture and 6 different aggressive wins plus an honorary award for co-star Harold Russell, who additionally gained for Best Supporting Actor. The Razor’s Edge landed Anne Baxter the Supporting Actress win. The Yearling took a toddler Oscar for Claude Jarman and Color Cinematography. And the fifth Best Pic nominee, Henry V, gained an Honorary Oscar for its star, director and producer Laurence Olivier. Alas, it was not a “wonderful” night for It’s A Wonderful Life. But Capra’s masterpiece would have the final chuckle.

None of the above talked about Oscar winners are getting any official recognition of their 75th anniversary, however the large loser of that evening is seeing Paramount Home Entertainment launch a lavish Blu-ray commemorating the event with each the restored authentic model and a, ahem, colorized version of the black-and-white basic included, plus with them you get a collection of collectible playing cards and detailed recipes for every merchandise on the menu of “Bailey Family Holiday Recipes” (Pastry Snails, “He’s Bats” Minestrone, Home Blessing Salad, Corn Muffins, Glazed Holiday Ham, Classic Holiday Roast Turkey, Clarence’s Angel Food Cake, Vanilla Moonbeam Pies, Homemade Eggnog, Mama and Papa Dollar cocktails).

Further proof of it being the one 1946 Best Picture nominee nonetheless producing main merchandising alternatives: there’s a new ebook out for the anniversary, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Official Bailey Family Cookbook. All that is designed so that you can eat identical to the Baileys did (“for anyone who has ever wanted to spend Christmas in Bedford Falls,” because the advert line says). Of course that Bailey household additionally consists of Donna Reed, Stewart’s co-star, who would later win an Oscar for Supporting Actress in From Here to Eternity.

And in the event you assume that is only a one-off repackaging of the film, truly Paramount mistakenly despatched everybody on its press checklist the seventieth anniversary Blu-ray by mistake and needed to resend the 75th. A take a look at the title on Amazon sees quite a few video variations available on the market over time together with a 4K restoration. I imply, what number of copies of The Yearling or The Best Years of Our Lives are on Walmart cabinets?

On high of all this, NBC is airing the movie Saturday evening, devoting all the primetime schedule to the three-quarters-of-a-century-old black-and-white film, with a promise to do it once more later within the month. This is an annual custom for the community, which acquired rights to it within the Nineties and has made it a holiday-season custom. At finest, these different 1946 Oscar nominees are seen on TCM often and never given practically the extent of affection this movie has developed since its modest launch.

It is reassuring to know the Bailey household continues to be with us, even throughout a pandemic and darkish occasions, spreading joys of the season and holding us from leaping off the bridge.

Maybe it is a beautiful life in spite of everything — no less than within the motion pictures.





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