Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 Days Of X-Mas Review: The Greatest Gift



   It's A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite films. I watch it every holiday season and it always manages to move me emotionally. If you somehow haven't managed to see the film yet I urge you to make an effort, it is a wonderful reminder of how no man is an island and we are all interconnected.

I had no idea that the movie was based on a short story! I discovered it the book through and article in Good Housekeeping this month. I was also surprised to learn that Good Housekeeping was also the first magazine to publish the story.

In reading this story I realised what a wonderful palate  Philip Van Doren Stern created for Frank Capra. In the story the main character is George Pratt . He is not involved in the dire straits as portrayed in the movie but he is in a sense of contemplation of his life and possibly contemplating death. A strange man comes upon him. He is carrying a small black bag and seems to know a lot about George's life.

The strange man grants George a wish: to see what life would be like if he wasn't born. He also gives him the small black bag. Inside is a sale kit with cleaning brushes that he suggests might help him get into some homes. George doesn't think anything of it until he walks around his old town, things aren't the same. It is while sitting in his parents home that he realises the import of his life. His parents don't recognize him of course, they are just showing kindness to a salesman . It is the solitary picture of his brother that moves him. a brother who is dead because George was never born to save him.

He then seeks out his wife. she is a widow whose son Tommy is deathly ill. George rushes back to the bridge crying out in fear for his dying son and begging for another chance. He kneels listening to the church bells and finds himself back into his former life. A life that is more vibrant and appreciated than ever before. This story was wonderful and had many of the elements I loved about the film. A wonderful book to read around the holidays.



Amy said...

It's a Wonderful Life is quite possibly my all time favorite movie. ;) I didn't know it was based on a short story either, and I had always wondered. Great find!

....Petty Witter said...

Well thats something new I've learnt as I also did not know that It's A Wonderful Life started as a book. My sister-in-law's favourite film, I'll have to see about getting her a copy.

For my latest holiday review, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, you might liketo visit me at -