Thursday, December 13, 2007

13 Interesting Facts About It’s A Wonderful Life


If you all tuned into The Mo Show Wednesday, you heard Morgen express his complete and utter dislike for It's A Wonderful Life. This holiday classic happens to be one of my absolute favorite films! I thought I would do a special Thursday Thirteen, dedicated to you Morgen, for this beautiful film!


1. Originally ended with “Ode to Joy”, not “Auld Lang Syne”.

2. The Bells of St. Mary’s is showing at the movie theatre as George runs down the street in Bedford Falls near the end of the film. Henry Travers, who plays Clarence the Angel, starred in that film as Horace P. Bogardus.

3. For the scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock into the window of the Granville House, Frank Capra hired a marksman to shoot it out for her on cue. To everyone’s amazement, Donna Reed broke the window with true aim and heft without assistance of the hired marksman.

4. James Stewart was nervous about the phone scene kiss because it was his first screen kiss since his return to Hollywood after the war. Under Frank Capra’s watchful eye, Stewart filmed the scene in only one unrehearsed take, and it worked so well that part of the embrace was cut because it was too passionate to pass the censors.

5. The movie drew fierce criticism for its political statements about post-WWII society when it was released in 1946. Even the FBI labeled it a “subversive” movie and charged that its use of a nasty, Scrooge-like businessman “was a common trick used by communists.”

6. The gym floor that opens up to reveal a swimming pool was real and was located at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles.

7. This was the first and last time that Frank Capra produced, financed, directed and co-wrote one of his films.

8. At $3.7 million, this was a very expensive independent production. In its initial box office run, it only earned $3.3 million.

9. James Stewart cited George Bailey as being his favorite character. The part was originally developed at another studio with Cary Grant earmarked for the role. When Frank Capra inherited the project, he rewrote it to suit Stewart.

10. After the war, Frank Capra set up Liberty Films with George Stevens and William Wyler to make more serious, soul-searching films. This was Liberty’s only production.

11. The instant that George says “God” on the bridge, it starts snowing, showing that he is back in the real world.

12. The scene on the bridge where Clarence saves George was filmed on a back lot on a day where the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why James Stewart is visibly sweating in a few scenes.

13. The set for Bedford Falls was constructed in two months and was one of the longest sets that had ever been made for an American movie. It covered four acres of the RKO’s Encino Ranch. It included 75 stores and buildings, main street, factory district and a large residential and slum area. The Main Street was 300 yards long, three whole city blocks!


24 comments:

Head Gaggler said...

That was an interesting list. I have to say I have never seen that whole movie from start to finish.

Margarita said...

Very interesting. I know I've seen the movie but honestly I don't remember that much of it.

maggie at http://maggie.coffeeshopmafia.com

pjazzypar said...

This is one of the most wonderful Christmas movies of all times. I have seen this film every year since I was a child. It is nice to know some of the trivia behind the filming of the movie. Happy TT.

WorksForMom said...

Don't hate me, but I've NEVER seen the entire move either. I might be the only person (except HG)!

Crazy Working Mom said...

It is a "warm and fuzzy" movie. :)
Great choice for your TT considering your discussion on The Mo Show.

You guys were great. I really enjoyed it! You cracked me up that you were so shocked by a lot of movies that Mo hadn't seen (or didn't like)! *LOL*

My TT is up now ( I know you just left ).

Tisha @ CrAzY Working Mom

Lori said...

Im ashamed to say that I have never seen that movie all the way thru. Only bits and pieces. It sounds great!! Happy TT and thanks for stopping by:)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

This is VERY interesting list! I really enjoyed reading it!

pussreboots said...

It's been about a decade since I've seen this film. Happy TT.

damozel said...

Nice list! I haven't seen that film in YEARS. The Flatland Almanack --Damozel

Nicholas said...

I've never seen that film but that's an interesting list of trivia about it.

Donna said...

It's my favorite movie. I just watched it with my granddaughters on the first of their two "snow days" day before yesterday. I have it on VHS, and decided yesterday to order it on DVD. The VHS version isn't captioned, so my husband can't tell what is being said.

Hulai said...

wow i didnt know alot of that.

Sandy Carlson said...

This is an amazing movie. Thanks for this post of good stuff about it. (Amazing how what was once called a dud is such an important movie. Shows us we need to stay with our convictions.)
Writing in Faith

Mo said...

I thought he was sweating on the bridge because I was yelling "JUMP!"

Sorry, couldn't resist.
I'm surprised you haven't rallied your readers to come storm The Wren's Nest with pitchforks and torches at my blasphemy.

Good TT! Thanks for dedicating it to me!

Believer in Balance said...

I absolutely love It's a Wonderful Life! We watch it every year. Every time one of my girls falls down, they say "I'm Allllright!!!" Did you know the only award they won for the film was for the real looking snow! Thanks for the info.!

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

I'm not terribly fond of the movie, but I loved reading all of these facts about it! :)

FRIGGA said...

I've never actually seen the movie - I want to though :P

Sharon said...

I don't think there is a better Christmas movie out there! Great list. I loved #3...lol. She showed them, huh?
Much I did not know about this movie. Thanks for sharing.

MamaLee said...

I haven't seen that movie in years! Happy TT!

FrogDogz said...

I didn't think there was *anything* that could make me actually want to watch this movie again (ever!) - but your list managed it!

Thea said...

Leave it to a man to assume a girl can't even throw a rock.

Not So Anonymous Michelle said...

COOL POST!!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE!

Travis said...

Great list. I didn't know any of that. Of course, I've never seen the film either.

Yes, I did say that. And it's true.

♥ Em said...

I love that movie... very interesting facts you found!!!