Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


It’s a Wonderful Life

posted by Beyond Blue

I am publishing this from my archives today because I’m taking the day off!
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I was really moved by Larry’s blog entry on the holiday classic, which I try to watch each year, to remind me that, despite my illness, it still is a wonderful life. You can get to his original blog post by clicking here.

Sometimes I forget — in my depression, in my financial difficulties this holiday season — that one of the most famous characters in cinematic history faced the same situation 62 years ago, Christmas 1945. In fact, he was suicidal from being threatened with jail.
Yet — with a little help from a semi-angel who hadn’t yet “earned his wings” — George Bailey, played immortally by Jimmy Stewart — was able to see that, indeed, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Run — do not walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200 — to the next TV showing or to your local DVD store to spend 2-1/2 (on DVD) or 3 (including commercials) hours during the holidays watching this film, my all-time favorite. ESPECIALLY if you are that proverbial only person in America who hasn’t seen it.
I’ve gotten into fights with people about whether it’s really a Christmas movie or not. Certainly the immortal director Frank Capra never intended for it to be a Christmas movie. In fact, despite the famous climax at Christmas, the movie was only given a token holiday release for the 1947 Oscars (shockingly, for now being regarded as one of the top all-time films, it didn’t win any, even for Stewart) and fully released in January 1947. Maybe that’s why its box office, while not bad, was considered disappointing (i.e., the studio was hoping for a blockbuster).


What they got instead was the first example — as happens often today with movies like the original “Austin Powers” — where most people first saw it on TV rather than in the theaters. And besides the climax, there are many explicitly Christian themes of redemption (though one might say there are Eastern themes of karma as well), so it did become a natural for TV channels to air during the holiday season. I’m willing to concede the point and focus on the movie instead.
And what a movie. First of all, the cast — besides Stewart; Donna Reed as his beloved yet resented wife; Gloria Grahame as his flirtatious friend who (and here was no Capracorn) was a woman from the wrong side of the tracks who was actually just a woman from the wrong side of the tracks; and of course, Lionel Barrymore (yes, the granduncle of Drew) as Mr. Potter.
The relationship between Mr. Potter and George was a bit like that between Javert and Valjean in “Les Miserables,” or between Salieri and Mozart in “Amadeus” — where one man saw greatness in the other, resented it, and sought to destroy it or at least neutralize it.
George, as he grew into a young man in the small upstate New York town of Bedford Falls, had ambitions of traveling the world. He quickly forgot about incidents where in his selflessness he had saved two men (and ultimately, it turned out, many more) — his brother Harry from drowning as a child; and his pharmacist, Mr. Gower, from putting the wrong medicine in someone’s prescription that would have killed his patient.
He met and fell in love with a librarian named Mary (Reed) — who, alas, was the ultimate homebody. George’s friend Sam Wainwright also wooed Mary, but even his wealth was no match for George’s charm. (“You want the moon, Mary? I’ll throw a lasso around it …”)
Still, it also fell upon George to stay in town and not go to college like his brother, and to run the family business, Bailey Building and Loan — a savings and loan run by his late father which, since it didn’t have full bank status, remained dependent on Potter’s bank.
Mary and George married at the height of the Great Depression. Mary had a dream of renovating an old decrepit mansion into a home for them in Bedford Falls. Her compromise with the restless George was that they would have an elaborate honeymoon of traveling. Suddenly, there was a bank panic. Potter offered to buy off Bailey’s customers for 50 cents on the dollar. The only way the Building and Loan would not go bankrupt, Mary realized, was to give away the honeymoon fund to its customers. And so she did. (You’ll never again forget the phrase “Mama dollar and Papa dollar.”)
Potter, impressed by George saving the business, offered to buy George out instead. George almost accepted, but then refused, realizing he couldn’t work for Potter. So he threw his former ambitions back into the Building and Loan, giving mortgages to lower-middle-class townspeople for new homes. Meanwhile, he and Mary had four kids. (And George was 4-F for World War II — he was injured saving Harry all those years ago — a fact the movie illustrates, and that I know from my own grandfather, made many men feel emasculated.)
So far, it’s a wonderful life, but it’s also an ordinary life. And that gnawed on George — though we didn’t realize how much until Christmas Eve 1945. George had to stay at the Building and Loan for a bank inspection, so George’s doddering old Uncle Billy took a huge deposit to Potter’s bank.
And lost it.
And Potter found it. And realized he had his chance to destroy the Baileys once and for all.
When George, frantic and threatened with arrest by the bank regulators, confronted Uncle Billy, he slapped him and threatened to testify against him in his anger. Then he pleaded with Mr. Potter that there had to be some mistake, so George offered his life insurance as collateral.
Potter’s immortal reply: “You’re worth more dead than alive.”
Which gave George the most horrible of ideas. And thus begins the real story.
Most of us know the images by heart, so I won’t recite them here. Suffice to say you see countless parallels between how George first encounters his semi-angel and how George saved his brother (and, it turned out, thus saved an entire World War II troop ship — his brother won the Medal of Honor for heroism); how George resented his friend Sam Wainwright for his wealth — yet they were still friends even after George had married Sam’s love Mary; how George and Mr. Potter traded the words (with some accuracy for both) “warped and frustrated” to describe each other.
And in the alternate reality that Clarence the “angel second-class” showed George … we see that what Violet Bick (Gloria Grahame’s small but critical character) was suspected by the less charitable to be in real life, she actually was in the alternate reality. That where George had built an authentic neighborhood called Bailey Park, Potter had transformed Bedford Falls into a gaudy Las Vegas-type “Potterville.” Poor Mr. Gower, of course, rotted to death in jail for manslaughter for killing his patient. Mary, fitting the stereotype, became a librarian spinster. Their house, instead of being (slowly) renovated as in real life, literally crumbled to the ground. And Uncle Billy, predictably, was institutionalized.
Some of the best scenes in the movie, though, are in the “real-life” part. When George and Mary meet at a dance and fall into a swimming pool, it was filmed at Beverly Hills High School (yes, the campus, much rebuilt, later the setting for “90210”), which had a combination gym and pool.
And the scene that still gives me chills is during that fateful Christmas Eve. George has just yelled at his daughter Zuzu’s teacher on the phone, in his anger knowing disaster is about to strike. He then storms out to his friend Martini’s tavern. (Martini, who financed his house with a Bailey Building and Loan mortgage.) There, he folds his hands on the bar and says, “Lord, I’m not a praying man,” and you see ultimate fear on Stewart’s face. (Proof that some of the best acting is wordless.) Then, he asks G-d to give him a sign. It turns out the man next to him is Zuzu’s teacher’s husband, who punches him in the face.
(That’s the karma — and sometimes, that’s how I feel in my relationship with G-d, trying to figure out what I did …)
When, with Clarence’s help, George finally realizes that he has, in fact, lived the ultimate life of “Six Degrees of Separation” (eat your heart out, Will Smith, Donald Sutherland, Stockard Channing and John Guare), his celebration — redemption, really — is joyous. “I’m going to jail — MERRY CHRISTMAS!” he yells jubilantly while running through Bedford Falls, realizing that being alive, even if in disgrace, is its own prize.
Of course, we know that Frank Capra would never let George Bailey go to jail to end the movie. (Hint: Remember, George has a very rich friend.) And, yes, that closing scene with everyone at the Baileys’ house (including Harry just home from the war) singing “Auld Lang Syne” as Zuzu says, “My teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings” — as the Bedford Falls town bell rings — is probably the most schmaltzy end to a movie in American history.
(And inspired endless jokes, after the land speculation craze of the early 1980s forced the government to shut down all savings and loans, that George Bailey was the first “S&L crook.”)
But still, remember what the last scene does not do. It doesn’t expose Uncle Billy as the one who caused the crisis (to anyone besides George and Mr. Potter, of course), and it doesn’t punish Mr. Potter. (That was left to the delicious Saturday Night Live parody, “The Lost Ending of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,'” with Dana Carvey as George, the late Phil Hartman as Uncle Billy and Jon Lovitz as Mr. Potter, which ends — after Uncle Billy remembers that Mr. Potter took the money — with George’s friends becoming a lynch mob looting Mr. Potter’s home and George going medieval on Potter himself with Potter’s own cane.)
The grace (if perhaps overdone) with which Capra ended the movie — no retribution, no justice in the ultimate sense, just recognition that a good man in trouble desperately needed and deserved help, and got a little from above — is a lesson I need to learn, over and over and over. That there is no ultimate justice in this world (contrary to Saturday Night Live); and we must depend on grace to get us through to the next one.
Therese Borchard of Beliefnet’s Beyond Blue blog is a massive fan of the Holly Hunter show on TNT “Saving Grace,” which might be called a raw, modern update of the themes of Stewart and Capra’s classic.
But I’m a traditionalist when it comes to these things, and “It’s a Wonderful Life” is where I find saving grace in this Christmas season.



  • Babs

    Great post, Larry. One of my daughters and I justed watched it again on Monday morning. It is one of my top five favorite movies. James Stewart communicates the character’s emotional state throughout the movie so well that it is hard to believe that he did not receive an Academy Award, but that does not diminish the enduring value of this movie.
    Like so many of the BB readers, I identify with the desperation of George Bailey as the world crumbles around him. I see myself in his sharp tongue with his children, his impatience, his phone call (painfully and with some shame, I see myself),and his resolve to kill himself. In the first half of the movie, we see George as a decent man who does what he feels obliged to do at the price of giving up his dreams. Sometimes the things we think we want for ourselves seem forever beyond our reach. It is hard to not harbor resentment, often well-hidden because it doesn’t fit with our ideas of ourselves as “good people.” So it goes underground and eats away at our souls.
    It is when George asks God to help him, because there is no one else to turn to, that really touches me. The punch in the mouth which drives him to the river, is actually what brings him to the river and his meeting with God through Clarence Goodbody. It seems that George has worked hard his entire life, but God has played no part in it. With God, the most humble life has meaning. Without God, money and good looks, and all the other things we value aren’t worth a hill of beans.
    An aside about the punch in the mouth: from my own experience, sometimes when I pray and an immediate answer seems to pop up, I think this is what God wants from me. When it doesn’t work out, I wonder whether God answered or not. Sometimes the immediate answers are indeed from God, but we have to be careful not to assume it to be so.
    I just wrote last night about my struggle with God. How I want him to be more integral to my day, but how I also want to maintain distance. It is so difficult when you are being pulled both ways. I want God so badly, but because of early life experience, am sometimes afraid and want to hold him at arms length. I wish it weren’t so, but it is where I am right now.

  • Larry Parker

    I said my piece in the post, obviously, but I noted that Saturday Night Live parody for two reasons:
    1. The very desire we have as humans for justice as revenge, given how George has been wronged, is itself desperately wrong. (I just wrote an anti-death penalty post on my blog last night — no offense to those on BB who disagree, of course, but that’s how I see it.)
    Back to the movie — we have to realize, as George finally does, that we have to take responsibility for our own lives, the good and the bad, and (as a psychologist might say) “integrate them into the whole.”
    2. “It’s a Wonderful Life” could never be remade — not only because it would be sacrilege (“colorizing” it was bad enough) but because Hollywood executives would insist on an ending JUST like that on Saturday Night Live.
    I’m imagining Tom Hanks as George punching a wheelchair-bound Kirk Douglas as Potter in the face, with the last line, “BANK ON **THIS**, POTTER!!!!”
    Ugh.

  • CLeo

    Capra chose those characters so well that we loved them even though some weren’t very lovable. In real life it’s not that simple, by the time we begin to see the real person, too much water has gone under the bridge or they have moved away.

  • Peg

    And wasn’t the phone scene where the chemistry between Mary and George was heating up, the best? There is definitely something worthwhile to leaving things to our imagination, in my opinion.

  • Frank

    Thank you for posting this. Larry, you really hit the proverbial nail on the head. My wife and I just watched It’s A Wonderful Life a few days ago – and I feel so clean and fresh after a visit with all those characters. I remember the restaurant/bar where George gets punched by the school teacher’s husband. That place is like our minds somehow. If bad things are ongoing they seem to get trapped and clog up the pipes with dark. Far better to dwell on the positive and be reminded that good is great.
    It is a wonderful life…
    Frank,

  • Larry Parker

    Cleo:
    “Water under the bridge” — what an eerie, and I’m certain unconscious but nevertheless so prescient, metaphor when we discuss IAWL. Think how important water (including snow) is in so many parts of the story.
    Frank:
    You’ve figured out the bar scene better than I have (for your own life). But for my mind it really is the key scene in the movie, at least as far as a turning point.
    To everyone:
    Bnet’s software ate it, but I also was going to blog on two other holiday movies that have become “insta-classics” — “A Christmas Story” and “Love Actually.” I can’t recommend both of them more highly (though neither, of course, is IAWL).

  • Larry Parker

    … and thanks to the powers-that-be at Bnet (with a nudge from Therese?) who put this on their front page December 23.

  • Dona J.

    Larry,
    Boy oh Boy, talk about one of the most heart wrenching movies of all time. And yes, it does make you wake up and smell the coffee. This movie is one of my all time favorites too. I watch it every year. With all that we go thru in this life, we have to remember that if He (Father God) brings you to it, He will bring you thru it. Sometimes bad situations, can be turned into a good situation when dealing with our Father. Keep the faith and Hold on to His never Changing Hand. God Bless and Merry Christmas to everyone. Don’t forget to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season.
    Sincerely, Sis Dona J.

  • TRICIA

    YES MY COMMENT IS THAT ITS CHRISTMAS EVE AND IM A TRADIONALIST IN LOVING THE MOVIE BUT EACH PERSON IN THEIR HEART AND SOUL SEES THIS WORK OF ART BY THE GENIOUS FRANK CAPRA AS THAT A MAN NEEDS A GOOD WOMAN TO STAND BEHIND HIM IN TIMES OF TROUBLE WHICH SHE DID. THE BANKING SITUATION ONLY PUT OFF NEVER RUINED THEIR LOVE AND ROMANCE AND I HAVE AN ANGEL ORNAMENT WITH A BELL LIKE IN THE MOVIE . AND YES I HAVE THREE ANGELS IN HEAVEN AND THEY ARE ALL STRONG WOMAN WATCHING OVER ME AND MY SADNESS THIS CHRISTMAS BUT I HAVE A TRUE ROMANTIC HELPING ME MAYBE IM HELPING HIM TOO I RESPECT HIS LOSSES AND FEELINGS HAPPY HOLIDAYS KAL

  • Anonymous

    IF I HAD TO LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH ONLY ONE MOVIE, IAWL WOULD BE IT. OFF COURSE IT WOULD HAVE TO BE IN BLACK AND WHITE. I WOULD NEVER WANT TO WATCH THE COLORED VERSION. IT JUST WOULDN’T BE THE SAME.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND LISTEN FOR THAT BELL………..

  • KARL CACCIOLA

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
    TO MANY OF YOU THAT THINK THAT CHRISTMAS
    IS ALL ABOUT SHOPPING AND EXCHANGING GIFTS .
    I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHO STARTED THIS TRADITION
    AND WHY . PLEASE , ANYONE LET ME KNOW , BECAUSE
    CHRISTMAS HAS GOTTEN COMPLETLY COMMERCIAL AND
    OUT OF FOCUS . A DEVOTED CATHOLIC K

  • Dianne

    I most certainly must check out that movie…if not this year by the next for sure…but this year I intend to go one better…to be the embodiment of that angel, and bring an element of peace and joy to one close friend, and more than a friend this Christmas, if only for a few hours. He has found himself in a very difficult situation and is captive in self-made isolation. I cannot reconcile this to my spirit, even as I am a bit stressed about my own outcome of Christmas, but it is better to give than to receive, and hope to restore the blessed hope and joy of this season, if only to one person this year. It will certainly reaffirm my own. I may have seen that movie as a child, but cannot remember only one small detail in it….you have now resparked my interest in it and I hope to be able to enjoy the movie and its message soon. I am looking forward to a new holiday tradition in watching it….thank you, Therese, for reminding us that even in times of stress or discouragement, it truly is a wonderful life!

  • Pup Wiley

    This movie was made the year I was born.
    It remains one of my favorites.

  • CLeo

    Larry, yes, water is very symbolic, isn’t it? water is life, the river of life. That’s what George contemplates while pondering suicide, water keeps on running under the bridge, it’s life renewing itself, it’s the eternal flow.

  • sandra weisz

    I loved watching that movie on television. i’ve seen it numerous times in peices, never all the way through. it was made in tarzana ca. i’m a native of l.a. i know. and it was made in the hot summer with artificial snow. looks real huh? well i,m homeless now living in motels and having no christmas whatsover and i thank you for reminding me of this wonderful movie and what it meant.in 1945 my parents were children living in foreign countries, so i love seeing what america was like back then, since i,m the first one born here. for me 2007 in southern ca. is the great depression. but that movie and you Theresa gives me hope . G-d bless..

  • Kisha

    My favorite movie. In fact I am watching it right now. Sometimes we do not realize how our lives impact upon others.

  • ravenbraveheart

    Sometimes I am not able to see the wonderful life or pathway as I like to say, cause of my Depression, anger, hurt & pain. I have a very hard time 2 years ago, the thought of suicide was very near, yet as you can read, I am still here, anyway the holidays are very hard, yet this year or should I say that in the last 3 days. I have been shown how much peolpe really care. I am very Thankful for that, & for my mind & my soul to be able to see then really feel it cause you see I do have a wonderful life pathway.
    anyone who is feeling alone, Please take from me, we are not even if we feel we are, look around someone is there.

  • Barbara

    Theresa –
    Tonight I am feeling more than just a little like George, having just come back home from a Christmas Eve service at the church I attend, with a fellowship time following the service. During that time, a very dear lady from the congregation came up to me and slid an envelope into my coat pocket, and with a heartfelt hug, said, “Merry Christmas, honey! Don’t you worry about a thing, God is taking care of you for awhile now!” (the newspaper which employed me as a freelance news reporter for the past 14 months recently ceased publication as of Dec. 10th, leaving me with NO job at the present time)
    When I got home, I took out the envelope and opened it — inside was a beautiful snowy Christmas scene on the front of a card that said beneath it, very simply, “Happy Holidays.” When I opened the card, I realized it was one of those cards in which people can slip money into an inside pocket, which said on it, “Wishing you all the beauty and wonder that this holiday season can bring” In the pocket was a $100 bill.
    I am crying as I write this to you, filled with such gratitude to God for speaking to one of His people who found it in her heart (and her wallet)to help me, and wondering what I have done to deserve such special treatment. Teresa, two weeks ago, I was nearly to the point of complete dispair, ready to just give up, lay down and go to sleep, preparing to pray that I would not wake up the next morning. But instead, I knelt next to my bed, and cried out to God, “Oh, Lord, please help me!! I am so lost!” Within several minutes, an enveloping sense of peace and calm came over me, and I slept like a baby that night, for the first time in many months. Since that night, I have felt an overwhelming sense of anticipation, as though something wonderful was about to happen to me — well, tonite, it happened.
    I have struggled with severe depression for the last three years, taken several different antidepressants that seem to help for awhile and then lose their effectiveness, and gone on probably 200 walks when the frustration and pain became more than I could bear. I stumbled onto your Beyond Blue blog about eight months ago, and have avidly devoured every post since. I truly believe that the God of my understanding has brought you into my life with “encouragement, strength and hope” that has kept me going on more than one bad day. In February of 2008, I will mark three years since I attempted suicide with alcohol and, thankfully, failed — I have been sober since September, 2005, and since completing inpatient dual-diagnosis treatment for depression and chemical dependency, I have become very conscious of how much my emotional state fuels and triggers my desire to get roaring drunk and forget everything that makes my heart ache.
    Thank you for everything you write, my GOD, you have no idea how very similar we are!! I pray for you every single night, that God will keep you safe and hold you close in His arms when the world just gets to be too much to bear. It sounds so noble of me, until you realize how dependent I am on reading your blog, how much you help me get through this crummy, rotten life, one day at a time, one step at a time, somedays, one minute at a time!!
    But tonight, it truly IS a wonderful life . . . .!

  • Mary

    Hi Barbara,
    I could really relate to your e-mail. I also have attempted suicide but many times. I am now going thru a mixed bi-polar state. I have been bi-polar for 35 yrs. and I sometimes think all the older bi-polar people have died. I am 61 and sometimes everything is so difficult – driving, thinking is fuzzy (maybe from zyprexa) and getting out of bed is the hardest. In June I had surgery from a fall when I broke my hip and femur (leg bone). I was on the floor for 7 hrs. yelling for help, before my neighbor heard me. By the time I got to the hospital I suffered from dehydration, high blood pressure, pneumonia, low red blood cell count and 3 blood clots. I was on a catheter for over 3 weeks and it’s only been since Nov. that I can make it to the bathroom on time. Physically, I’m doing great but then the depression hit. I’m taking parnate (MAOI) and starting to feel a little better, except when I wake up and think I have to get thru another day. I never used alcohol or drugs (except what’s prescribed) but I do use a lot of natural supplements. Has anyone tried elemental lithium, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Sam-E or other alternative therapies?

  • Kurt Eisbrenner

    I have seen the movie several times. Every time I notice something in the background, the plot, or the credits that I hadn’t seen before. Like the bit part by Sheldon Leonard (later the executive producer of the Andy Griffith Show). Or the amounts of money involved – the $2000 honeymoon money and the $8000 George’s uncle misplaced. You can’t help but think what $8000 in 1946 would be in today’s money? Or the downtown with all the Mom & Pop stores, locally owned and operated businesses. What happened to all those downtowns, indeed, what has happened to America the last 61 years when the last domestic maker of Santa suits has even gone out of business?
    People have loved and adopted this movie because it is history, a reminder of the beloved past, of past Christmases. One of our ministers (Donny is only in his 30’s) said that people love to remember and return to the past, it gives them comfort. In downtown Fort Wayne we have a Santa and reindeer display sign and a wreath sign that once were on the outside of what was one of our most beloved department stores. Every night before Thanksgiving thousands of residents and visitors flock to our downtown to see these signs lit up by the local dignitaries and Santa and local celebrities. They are 67 years old. The store, Wolf and Dessauer, went out of business 38 years ago. The store building people loved and revered burned down in a fire in 1962. The signs spent 21 years in storage then were resurrected 28 years ago and returned to downtown for Christmas in 1980.
    I say all this because people long for a return to those values that Frank Capra wove into the movie. And they miss an America that most Americans living have never experienced…..
    We need to get in the car and drive to South Bend to my family’s so I will just say, “remember no man is a failure who has friends, thanks for the wings” (Clarence). And Merry Christmas, to all those who remember, and all those who only know through what has been passed down through the generations!

  • CLeo

    @Mary, I’m bipolar as well, something I didn’t discovered until rather recently. I was “lucky” to come to this diagnosis, because it helped me stop condemning and judging myself. It’s been very difficult for me to live with no filters, as we bipolars do. Over the years I’ve been punished, criticized and vilified by those who should know better but don’t. For instance, a person very close to me is a trained Psychologist…this person still believes that attemption suicide is akin to becoming a prostitute, yet this person has the license to counsel and to “help” others…I now wonder how effective his help was and is, actually it’s more of an ego trip for him to have people come to him seeking his help. I can’t but wonder how many there, in the so called “Helping Professions” are like that. I’d another one of those, one a Ph.D who is hot and insitent in being addressed as “DOCTOR”, tell me that “Bipolar disorder” is a convenient diagnosis, one that professionals use when they don’t have anything else to say or don’t know.
    So my point here is don’t feel too bad, maybe you should take a look at what your meds are preventing you from seeing. I’m not in medication for depression or to keep the moods even, I discovered that I can do that effectively by controlling what I put in my mouth, sugar, fried or spicy foods, empty carbos, alcohol, chocolate, etc, those are verboten for me. I’ve discovered that by living with no filters I’m not at a disadvantage as many others are, I’m very sensitive to what goes on around me, phonies, malicious people, really kind people, beauty around me, etc., all the things I was made to feel guilty for perceiving once upon a time.
    The most important part is knowing what works for you and choosing your professionals with upmost care.

  • blanche

    Thank you, Therese, for the reminder. Thank you, Larry, for your wonderful post.

  • http://community.beliefnet.com/doxieman122 Larry Parker

    And I found my Donna Reed this year. Amazing, just amazing.

  • http://www.coachingfromspirit.com Sharon Wilson

    I think many of us have felt like George at one time or another. Movie is wonderful and inspirational because it gives alot of heart and hope.

  • Elizabeth

    When a friend moves to a new home – I put together Bread, Salt and Wine with the following Quote:
    Mary: Bread… that this house may never know hunger.
    [Mary hands a loaf of bread to Mrs. Martini]
    Mary: Salt… that life may always have flavor.
    [Mary hands a box of salt to Mrs. Martini]
    George Bailey: And wine… that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Enter the Martini Castle.
    [George hands Mr. Martini a bottle of wine]
    I love this movie on so many levels. Saw it last week…….

  • http://www.healthpanda.com Lisa

    Just found this blog-love it! Although this was a repost-it was new to me and I enjoyed reading it. This movie is a classic!

  • http://panicattackology.net Bill White

    Thanks to Therese and Larry for the post. What a great movie. I still want to bust through the screen and ask Donna Reed to marry me. And George’s meltdown toward the end. High drama. In fact, I wrote a paper on it in grad school. Happy Holidays one and all. Bill

  • Donna

    I have watched this movie every year for almost 30 years. It has become a family tradition. In the beginning, it was just a movie with a happy ending. As the years have passed and I have come to relate to the characters and their various life situations and dilemmas it has given me a deeper understanding of life and its many ups and downs and how we choose to deal with them.

  • Your Name

    Thanks Therese, for reposting this, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The title is a contradiction to some depressives, mainly me. I don’t watch this movie every year because I remember it so well. And I guess I don’t need anything to make me feel sadder, at this season.
    COLD, COLD, NOT MUCH SUN. You wrote about it recently. I love to watch , “Miracle On 34th Street.” It has a great message for families who don’t really know “The Reason for the Season.”
    It was so good to go to church last Sunday, before Christmas. We are close to our church family. It’s a family reunion every week. And as we are senior citizens, we find out who is ill, who’s in the hospital, etc. This is part of growing older that really stinks. We also belong to a Senior Bowling League. It’s the same thing; people become ill. Our families think we should join things for younger people. HA HA Oh yes, then “WE CAN BE THE OLDEST.” All is well for us.
    Thanks for letting me share some of my feelings with you all. Also, let me put a plug in for my one of my favorite movies. “What About Bob?” brings out the more humorous side of phobias and dealing with doctors. Okay, along the same line is, “The Man With Two Brains.”
    This movie is so funny, you have to release some tentions. If all else fails, I’m straight to “Thelma and Louise.”

  • Bev Y

    Ooops, forgot to put my name again.
    Bev Y

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How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from the drama queen at the water cooler). Why? Because we

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a third, stuff her full of refined sugar and processed f

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer is difficult? What if, instead, everything looks dark,

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »




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