One of the famous Christmas classics is definitely a fantasy film, so, here’s the review.

Premise

George Bailey sacrifices everything he wants for the happiness of others.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.
Donna Reed as Mary Hatch.
Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter.
Henry Travers as Clarence Oddbody.

Written by Philip Van Doren Stern, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Frank Capra.

Directed by Frank Capra.

The full IMDB page is here.

High Point

The ending. Let’s face it; without those last few minutes, this wouldn’t be the kind of movie that gets aired every Christmas.

Low Point

The editing at times, particularly in the scene where the envelope is passed from Billy to Mr. Potter.

The Scores

To the best of my knowledge, this was the first parallel universe story anywhere, ever. That counts as original as far as I’m concerned. Also, when a new movie is released that uses similar themes, this is the movie that it’s accused of ripping off. I give it 6 out of 6.

The effects were minimal. It snowed, and Clarence faded in and out a couple of times. While those effects may have been impressive when this was first made, 56 years worth of technology have dated them considerably. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is the main reason this is so well known. People love to see redemption. The events in George’s life tie together very well. It feels long at first, but the culmination at the end is clear, and we see the effects of everything we saw earlier. Still, everything that was referenced later was clearly meant to be referenced later; there was no subtlety, and not a very smooth flow from moment to moment. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting by Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, and H. B. Warner (as Mr. Gower) was all excellent. The work by the rest of the cast was acceptable, but not up to the same level. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was probably dampened by the fact that I’ve seen this movie about once a year for my entire life. The fact that the ending still affects me tells me they did a great job. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was uneven. The directing was good, the cinematography was good, the musical scores was a set of notes that were quite blatant, and the editing had some serious problems in terms of cutting in and out, as well as in terms of continuity issues when switching from shot to shot. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is a good movie, but it’s not one that I’d watch at any other time of the year. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, It’s A Wonderful Life receives 32 out of 42.