Jump to content

The Problem with "It's a Wonderful Life"


Sundblom Santa
 Share

Recommended Posts

December 18, 2021

Psychology Today

By Gina Barreca Ph.D.

EXCERPT:

The problem with the Christmas movie It's a Wonderful Life?

Remember Donna Reed's character, Mary?

During the part of the movie when Jimmy Stewart's character, George, gets to see what the world would have been like had he never been born, he witnesses all sorts of tragedies: the death of his beloved brother, the alcoholism and ruin of his boss, and—horror of horrors—the unmarried life of the Donna Reed character.

It is one of the climaxes of the film: George Bailey realizes with misery and terror that, had he never been born, Mary would now be not only single but—gasp!—a librarian!

He concludes, therefore, that his life was meaningful, if only because he saved people from death, ruin, and the sheer misery of a single woman who is perpetually in circulation.

I first wrote about that scene in my 1993 book, Perfect Husbands (and Other Fairy Tales), but decided to revisit it this holiday season.

I put the passage from Perfect Husbands on Facebook and my page lit up, well, like a Christmas tree.

Discovering that I'm not the only one who feels this way about one of America's most iconic holiday films was a relief and a delight.

As soon as I decided to risk exposing myself as a non-lover of the film and posted my Scrooge-like comment on Facebook, my friend humorist Amy Hartl Sherman quipped that "Donna Reed, being the hideous, unlovable person that she was, could not have possibly found another partner, right? But hey, books v. men? Is it really a loss?"

Or as Joanne Brokaw put it, “Thank God George saved her from a life of independence and learning.”

Here I’d been, preparing myself for an onslaught of criticism from the oppressively optimistic (they’re always the first to protest), and instead I was being cheered by a sense of companionship amongst the unconventional, unconvinced, and un-Clarenced.

I sighed and started enjoying the words of my fellow curmudgeons, whom I prefer to refer to as the Righteous and Wise.

Source: 

WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM

Would Donna Reed's character really have lost her sight without Jimmy Stewart?

 

  • Angry 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, yeah, that one was bizarre reading. Seriously, a bunch of nonsensical feminist psychobabble. While I'd normally give such nonsense a hard pass, I figured I should share it and get everyone's thoughts. When I read the article, I was really struck by the author's purposeful lack of awareness regarding Mary's change in the film versus in Phillip Van Doren Stern's original story. In the original, Mary doesn't become a spinster. She actually marries an abusive man. Granted, while I find that much more engaging than Mary becoming a librarian, the change stylistically makes more sense. They didn't need the added violence that's implied in such a scenario.

Of course, what seems lost on the author is that this is George Bailey's story, not Mary's per se. Yes, she's a crucial character and the story wouldn't be the same without her in it, but, ultimately, we're watching the rescue of George from the brink of suicidal ideation. That's the key here, and she missed the boat big time. Of course, I could also mention the fascinating use (really before its time in a lot of ways) of the "butterfly effect" (a theory saying one small change in the past or present can radically alter the future; or, more generally, the idea that all people, things, or circumstances are interconnected and interdependent on each other, especially in the context of a philosophy of determinism).

She brings up Mary, fair enough. We could mention Burt and Ernie (and the personal issues in their own lives that stemmed from not having George in those same lives in that alternate timeline). Yet, the most startling and bone chilling realization in the film from where I sit seems to be this: the men on Harry's transport died because Harry wasn't there to save them because George wasn't there to save Harry from drowning at age nine. So, George's life is wrapped up in Harry's life, the soldiers' own lives, and even, in a sense, the lives of those Kamikaze pilots. One life really does effect so many other lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why subject us here to this nonsense and crap,remove it

  • Like 1
  • Angry 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fabulous movie, end of story for me

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite movie.  Though many are unaware of the lost footage that was found by William Shatner and first shown to the public in 1986: It's a Wonderful Life: The Lost Ending

  • Haha 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Santa TJS said:

Why subject us here to this nonsense and crap,remove it

Tom, the article was posted so we could perhaps have a discussion. No ill will was meant by it. I hope you understand that. I agree the psychologist is nuts. I simply meant to post the article as a springboard for discussing differences of opinion as they relate to Christmas films. Still, perhaps retracting the article is a good idea. Yet, I'm not exactly sure how to do it, or even if I technically can, or even am allowed to. @Michael Rielly, sir, could you possibly remove the article (as Mr. Sheerin has told me to)? My deepest apologies, Mr. Reilly. :sc_sad:

Edited by Sundblom Santa
  • Like 2
  • Angry 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Sundblom Santa said:

Tom, the article was posted so we could perhaps have a discussion. No ill will was meant by it. I hope you understand that. I agree the psychologist is nuts. I simply meant to post the article as a springboard for discussing differences of opinion as they relate to Christmas films. Still, perhaps retracting the article is a good idea. Yet, I'm not exactly sure how to do it, or even if I technically can, or even am allowed to. @Michael Rielly, sir, could you possibly remove the article (as Mr. Sheerin has told me to)? My deepest apologies, Mr. Reilly. :sc_sad:

No need to apologize. 

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Black Hills Santa said:

No need to apologize. 

Thanks, Jason. Love you, brother.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/23/2022 at 11:20 PM, RusticSanta said:

My favorite movie.  Though many are unaware of the lost footage that was found by William Shatner and first shown to the public in 1986: It's a Wonderful Life: The Lost Ending

I cant imagine that in the real one but definitely funny :) 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Rob Thompson said:

I cant imagine that in the real one but definitely funny :) 

One of the comments claim that it was the intended ending (without the beating), but they didn't get around to filming it.  Supposedly Potter was getting arrested and screaming "I own this town".  Sounds plausible. 

I thought Dana Carvey made a pretty good George Bailey.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/23/2022 at 6:20 PM, RusticSanta said:

My favorite movie.  Though many are unaware of the lost footage that was found by William Shatner and first shown to the public in 1986: It's a Wonderful Life: The Lost Ending

Of course, that was back when SNL was (or could) still be funny. Now, it's just sad.

16 hours ago, RusticSanta said:

One of the comments claim that it was the intended ending (without the beating), but they didn't get around to filming it.  Supposedly Potter was getting arrested and screaming "I own this town".  Sounds plausible.

Sounds plausible, indeed. The Hays Code was well in effect by 1946, which would ordinarily (at least from what I understand) make such an ending all-but-mandatory. Still, the open-endedness feels more "true to life." The ending we have made this masterpiece (and it is a real masterpiece, thanks to Capra, whether as to lighting, the use of shadow, Capra's directing skills, or especially Jimmy Stewart) even better, if that were possible. It's a true classic. Watch it every single year. Never miss it.

Edited by Sundblom Santa
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, RusticSanta said:

I thought Dana Carvey made a pretty good George Bailey.

Heck, Dana Carvey made a pretty hilarious church lady!

Dana Carvey Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Edited by Sundblom Santa
  • Love 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

🎄 COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

  • Days
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Seconds

Post your pictures and comments here daily!

  • Donations

    All donations go directly towards the cost of hosting and running ClausNet!

    Your support, through donations or simply by clicking on sponsor links, is greatly appreciated!

    Donate Sidebar by DevFuse
  • Our picks

    • How do You Portray Santa?
      Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character.

      Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are. Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern.

      Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world. This came about from the advertising campaign of the Coke Cola Company and the creative painting genius, of Haddon Sundblom. Coke Cola was looking to increase winter sales of its soft drink and hired Sundblom to produce illustrations for prominent magazines. These illustrations appeared during the holiday season from the late 1930s into the early 1970s and set the standard for how Santa should look.

      This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handlebar mustache plus a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker.

      By the way, the majority of Sundblom's paintings depict Santa with a Brown Belt and Brown Boots. Not until his later illustrations did he change the color to Black for these items. Within the past few years many costume companies have offered the Coke Cola Suit and it has become very popular. You can tell it by the large buttons and absence of fur down the front of the jacket.

      No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return.

      The 5 Second Rule

      I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 13 replies
    • If You Have the Post Christmas Blues You’re Doing Christmas Wrong
      The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not?

      Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days.
        • Love
        • Like
      • 30 replies
    • Not Everyone Can Be Santa!
      Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 9 replies
    • Auld Lang Syne
      Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
        • Wow
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 3 replies
    • Merry Christmas, My Friend
      Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”.

      However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt.

      Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.

      That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
        • Sad
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
×
×
  • Create New...