Holiday Classic "It's a Wonderful Life" Coloring Pages
|Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart, and Karolyn Grimes in "It's a Wonderful Life" (All pictures courtesy of Liberty Films/RKO Radio Pictures/Republic).|
Pretty much everyone knows about "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). Although somewhat overlooked upon its initial release, "It's a Wonderful Life" has become perhaps the top holiday classic ever made.
For those unfamiliar with "It's a Wonderful Life," it tells the story of George Bailey, a small town banker living in Bedford Falls who encounters a personal crisis around Christmas.
Jimmy Stewart stars as George Bailey, while Donna Reed plays his wife, Mary Hatch Bailey. Also starring are Henry Travers as Clarence Odbody, Lionel Barrymore as Henry Potter, Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy Bailey, and Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu Bailey.
Also appearing in smaller parts are film stars Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, Sheldon Leonard, and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer.
The pivotal moment in "It's a Wonderful Life" occurs when George Bailey decides to kill himself due to having lost some important bank money. An angel, Clarence Odbody, is sent to stop him.
The essence of "It's a Wonderful Life" is showing how it is important to appreciate the good things about life despite adversity.
Clarence accomplishes this task with George by showing how George's life has impacted others in a positive way.
Directed by George Capra, "It's a Wonderful Life" was nominated for five Oscars but did not win any. "The Best Years of Our Lives" won many Oscars that year.
Many people consider "It's a Wonderful Life" to be the most heartwarming film ever made.
Parts of "It's a Wonderful Life" were filmed at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles, California.
"It's a Wonderful Life" was in the public domain after its copyright lapsed in 1974. It undoubtedly became the most cherished film in the public domain. However, Republic Pictures later reacquired the copyright in the 1990s. This copyright lapse led to many TV broadcasts of "It's a Wonderful Life," bringing it to the public's attention and contributing greatly to its popularity.
Capra, who directed a number of successful films, considered "It's a Wonderful Life" his favorite of them all.
Bedford Falls was a Hollywood movie set.
The "It's a Wonderful Life" set covered four acres and was one of the largest sets ever built.
A new type of artificial snow was created for "It's a Wonderful Life" in order to make filming easier.
Jimmy Stewart considered George Bailey to be his favorite character.
However, "It's a Wonderful Life" was not Jimmy Stewart's favorite film. That was Henry Koster's "Harvey" (1950).
During a key bar scene, Jimmy Stewart actually began to cry while praying for guidance. This became an unplanned close-up when Capra reviewed the film and decided to edit that scene.
"It's a Wonderful Life" was filmed in Los Angeles during the summer. It was extremely hot despite being set in winter.
In fact, it got so hot that the set of "It's a Wonderful Life" shut down for a day due to the heat.
"It's a Wonderful Life" begins in 1919 and ends in 1945.
Jimmy Stewart was 37-38 during filming, while Donna Reed was 25.
George's daughter, Zuzu, is named after cookies of the day, Zu Zu Ginger Snaps.
"Alfalfa" of the "Little Rascals" shorts of the 1930s plays a vengeful classmate of George and Mary.
The US State Department considered "It's a Wonderful Life" so important that it broadcast it around he world.
Jimmy Stewart's performance as George Bailey is considered one of the greatest performances in film history.
The FBI initially thought that "It's a Wonderful Life" was an attempt to discredit bankers. However, it is fairly obvious from "It's a Wonderful Life" that it portrays bankers in a very good light.
"Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star" is Clarence's theme song and plays five times during "It's a Wonderful Life."
Frank Capra also helped to write "It's a Wonderful Life," the only time this famed director ever did so.
Clarence is a key figure in the plot of "It's a Wonderful Life." However, Clarence does not actually appear until only 30 minutes are left in the film, and he only is on-screen for 15 minutes.
Ginger Rogers was approached about playing Mary. However, she turned it down because she thought the character too bland. It was a decision she regretted for the rest of her life.
George's angel, Clarence, was born in 1653.
Bedford Falls is a small town in upstate New York in "It's a Wonderful Life." It does not actually exist. However, some towns have claimed to be the "real" Bedford Falls, including Bedford Hills and Seneca Falls.
"Buffalo Gals," a Nineteenth-Century standard, plays seven times during "It's a Wonderful Life."
James Stewart signed his contract to portray George Bailey on 5 November 1945, which was over a month before the last scene of "It's a Wonderful Life." That was Christmas 1945.
USA Network usually airs "It's a Wonderful Life" during marathon showings over a holiday weekend, usually the one closest to Christmas.
Aside from Jimmy Stewart, much of the cast signed up in early April 1946.
Frank Capra had other endings in mind during filming. These involved praying. Capra felt that heavy-handed use of religion was unwarranted and rewrote the script by making the ending with the family gathering seen in "It's a Wonderful Life."
Little noticed is that Mr. Potter steals $8000 from George Bailey and apparently gets away with it. Of course, whether he actually "steals" it or rather simply "finds" it is open to interpretation. In any event, he keeps the money. Hollywood films in those days were not allowed to show criminals getting away with their crimes, but, apparently, the Hays Office censors either did not notice or did not care that this "crime" went unpunished.
Jean Arthur was asked to play Mary. However, Arthur turned the role down in order to appear in a Broadway Play. Jean Arthur previously had appeared with Jimmy Stewart in two other Frank Capra films, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and You Can't Take It with You (1938).
Dalton Trumbo, Dorothy Parker, Marc Connelly, and Clifford Odets all worked on the script for Dalton Trumbo, Dorothy Parker, Marc Connelly, and Clifford Odets all did uncredited work on the script of "It's a Wonderful Life" but did not receive any credit. This is quite common in Hollywood, and those who do this are called "Script Doctors."
Dimitri Tiomkin wrote the score of "It's a Wonderful Life." The fact that Republic Pictures owned the rights to the score was a key reason why it was able to get back copyright protection in the 1990s.
The original inspiration for "It's a Wonderful Life" was a greeting card.
"It's a Wonderful Life" was filmed from 15 April 1946 until 27 July 1946. This was 90 days and exactly what was budgeted/
The set of "It's a Wonderful Life" was taken down in 1954. The Beverly Hills High School and the Martini House shooting locations still survive.