It’s a wonderful life

It’s a wonderful life (1946, Frank Capra)

Imdb:

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Is it?  Is life wonderful?

I love the opening credits of this movie.  They are sheets of paper with the credits written on them, also with cute drawings.

opening credits

George Bailey (James Stewart) needs help.  The town of Bedford Falls is praying for his well-being, so an angel (Henry Travers) who has not gotten his wings yet is sent to help, and hopefully stop George from taking his life.  Okay, so the angel that is being sent has been waiting for his wings for 200 years! Geez, I think this angel sucks, at whatever the hell these angels do.  He is reading a book.  Is there a library in heaven?  I assume they are in heaven.  Are there bookstores in heaven?  So, heaven is capitalist?  Do they have money.  So far this movie is bringing up a lot of important questions, which I do not think are going to be answered.

Anyways, the movie starts with George as a young boy.  He seems like a really good kid.  Saved his brother from drowning, likes coconut, wants multiple wives.  He helps his boss from poisoning some guy.

bedford 1

James Stewart is very charming.  Bedford Falls reminds me of Stars Hollow from ‘Gilmore Girls’.  A quaint town full of charming men.

bedford 2Bedford Falls

stars hollowStars Hollow

Poor George is inflicted with the same troubles as any teenager in a small town.  He wants out!  His father asks him to take over the family business, a building and loan office, when he gets back from a trip and school.  Of course, George informs his father that he can’t, because he doesn’t want to be stuck.

Donna Reed plays Mary Hatch, the sister of a friend of Georges.  She is beautiful! Check her out!

donna

Mary, like every young lady finds herself naked in a hydrangea bush.  If I had a nickel…

hydrangea

George’s father, Peter Bailey (Samuel S Hinds), dies of a stroke.  George gives up his trip and decides to go to just go to school.  After his father’s death, Mr. Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore, puts down Peter’s business sense and wants the loan business dissolved.  George gets on a soapbox and rants about the trials and tribulations of the common working man.  After his rant the committee decides that George should take over.  Therefore, he gives up going to college to take over the business.  George gives his college money to his brother, who after college comes home married to some chick.  Her father has some glass factory and wants George’s bro to work for him.  Poor George is stuck, just like he tried to avoid.

george sad

The only saving grace for George is Mary Hatch.  He has a hard time admitting that she is the perfect woman.  Dammit, George!! Look at what she painted you, George!!

george moon                george lasso

George is not very nice to Mary, who is very into him.  Of course, George is truly an idiot and is into Mary, but has to be difficult.  Typical.

rolling eyes

Don’t worry, these silly kids get together.  They get married.  Unfortunately, on the way to start their whirlwind honeymoon they are stopped because there is trouble at the building and loan business because the bank has been closed.  Once again, George has to sacrifice his own happiness to help out the business and the town of Bedford Falls.

Let’s talk about this asshole…

mr potter

Mr. Potter.  He is the dick that takes over the bank and is always trying to fuck George over.  This guy is the worst.  The literal worst.  He is the Scrooge character in this movie.  He has a vendetta against George because his family has always been a thorn in his proverbial paw.  He is constantly trying to make the most money, even if that means screwing over the good people of Bedford Falls.  He even tries to recruit George to work for him.  George declines.

Mr. Potter proves what kind of snake he is when George’s poor uncle accidentally gives him the building and loans money, a whopping sum of $8000.  Instead of being a good person, he keeps the money.  He ends the Bailey family, once and for all.  Dick.

mr potter 2

I liked this movie, the story is the tale of a man who tries so hard to be good.  He believes that the happiness of everyone is more important than his happiness.  He sacrifices a lot, but does a lot of good for the people of Bedford Falls.  This role is perfect for James Stewart.  He plays it perfectly.  He is a good man, but has difficulty with his emotions.  George is conflicted.  He is willing to make the biggest sacrifice of all for the town of Bedford Falls.

george 3

What I didn’t like about this movie is the lack of Christmas!  It is only christmas-y at the end.  Why not have more Christmas!  More Christmas!!  But, I do like how the angel lets George see what life would be like if he was never born.  Total mindfuck.

george 4

I understand why “It’s a wonderful life” is a classic movie.  I definitely think that everyone should watch this movie, and it may become a part of my “must-watch Christmas movies” list.

I have to admit that I was a blubbering mess at the end of this movie.  It was very touching.

“It’s a wonderful life” receives 4 wingless angels out of a possible 5.

the end

 

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Vertigo

Vertigo

(1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

IMDB:

A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

Acrophobia: the irrational fear of heights, not the same as vertigo, which is the feelings of disillusionment and dizziness.  I am not sure the main character, John “Scottie” Ferguson, played by James Stewart, understands the difference.  Maybe in his day they were the same thing.  Oh, the good old old old days.

I will admit his fainting face is hilarious.

fainting

The bad:

Okay, not to be a dick, but Stewart is not my favourite actor.  His voice and accent are strange.  He does seem like he would have been a nice guy, or a raging lunatic, but I guess everyone is like that.

whoa

In the movie his character watches a colleague fall from the top of a building, which traumatizes him and he develops acrophobia.  Due to his acrophobia, he leaves the force, where he was a detective.  A friend of his from college, who is also a wealthy shipbuilder, asks Scottie if he will follow his wife, who he suspects is going nuts.  He believes his wife has been possessed the spirit of some chick who killed herself.  Apparently, his wife’s grandmother killed herself, therefore the crazy “is in her blood”.  Stick to building ship’s, buddy.  And killing chicks! Oops.  He also knows everything that his wife does when she is alone.  WHEN SHE IS ALONE?!  Now, how the fuck does he know that?!  He claims her mother told her what she does?!  Yeah, okay.  This guy is weird.

Of course, Scottie follows the beautiful and mysterious, Madeleine, played by Kim Novak (don’t worry, she is in the good), and then falls in love with her.  It really did not take much for two strangers to fall in love in the late ’50’s.

The husband/wealthy ship builder hatches a plan to fake his wife’s death by throwing some other chick out of a bell tower.  Totally believable.  I am sure this kind of thing happens all of the time.  When old Scottie sees her fall his acrophobia/vertigo is TRIGGERED.

Eventually, he finds a chick named “judy” that looks exactly like Madeleine.  He is obsessed and tries to make over “judy” as Madeleine.  Of course, “judy” is Madeleine.  Once again, totally normal.

Basically, the plot of this movie is weird.  It is considered a classic and one of the best films of all time.  I am not sure about that.  Maybe I am too critical, but I like other Hitchcock films more.  It could also be that I just recently listened to Tippi Hedren’s autobiography, and Hitchcock was a total ass to her.  It is hard to like men of that sort of character.

tippi

Apparently, when this movie debuted it did not do well.  Hitchcock blamed old James Stewart for being too old.  Yep.  He is old.  Especially compared to the young Novak, and his buddy Midge played by Barbara Bel Geddes, (more about her in the good), who looks way younger and is supposed to be a friend of his from college.  Sure.

The good:

Kim Novak!  She is awesome.  I love everything she wears in this movie.  Of course, that is due to the styling of Edith Head.

kim

Hitchcock had a thing for blondes.  Many blondes played the leading ladies in his films: Janet Leigh in Psycho, Tippi Hendren in The Birds, Eve Saint Marie in North by Northwest, and Grace Kelly in Rear Window.

blonde

The scenery in this movie is amazing.  Honestly, Hitchcock knew a good angle!  The shots in this film are incredible.  It really feels like every shot was thoroughly thought out and that he knew exactly what he wanted.  His film-making has always reminded me of Sofia Coppola’s style.

bridge

I love Midge!  Her apartment is so cool.  She is an artist, who designs bras?  Sure, whatever.  Basically, she is in love with Scottie, always has been, and is single and lives alone.  She is the old, (but actually young), maid.  It is weird because Midge paints a portrait of herself as Carlotta, (the chick who Madeleine is obsessed with), and is surprised when Scottie doesn’t think it is funny.  She proceeds to have a breakdown.  Turns out there is more than one crazy blonde bitch in this movie.  I can’t believe she took the time to paint the portrait!  It was really good.  That would have taken a long time.  Shouldn’t she be designing bras and taking in stray cats?

midge

In the end, Scottie goes nuts.  He is haunted by the memory of Madeleine.  After dressing “judy” up like her, he takes her to the same bell tower and makes her walk up the stairs.  He looks deranged, and old.  As he is walking up the stairs he is triggered a bunch of times, but just keeps going!  What a trooper.  He ends up overcoming his acrophobia/vertigo by forcing himself up the stairs.  Once.  Not sure that is the way it works, but what do I know.

He should have called this chick!  Saved himself climbing all of those dang stairs.  This guy is olde.  I added the ‘e’ because he is damn old!

treat

Audrey Hepburn apparently wanted Kim Novak’s role.  She would have been excellent!

Of course, the ending is pretty quick.  They get up to the top of the bell tower and she jumps out the window when a nun appears.  My reaction as well.  Then the movie is over.  Was “judy” Madeleine?  Yes.  Actually, she was impersonating Madeleine.  Why? Well, because Gavin had already killed his wife and needed someone to play her.  He wanted to make it seem that she was possessed and crazy, therefore the police would believe she killed herself.  Why did he kill his actual wife?  Not sure.  Why wasn’t any of this actually mentioned in the movie?  Once again, not sure.  It would have been nice to know a little more about the husband and his motives.  Maybe, old Scottie could have been suspicious of him and his treatment of Madeleine.  That could have made the love part a little more believable.  He was obsessed with taking care of the victim, Madeleine.  To be honest, I had to go check out the wikipedia page to fully understand what the hell was going on.  Maybe I am tired or dumb, or both.

Well, this is a classic.  The story is not the greatest, but that is me.  The movie as a whole is beautifully shot, and is worth a watch.

Vertigo receives 4 TRIGGERED old Jimmy Stewart’s out of a possible 5.  (that face! bah!)

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