Check out Richard’s look at “It’s a Wonderful Life” playing in the December Cineplex Pre Show at theatres across the country, then check out the movie when it plays on the big screen on December 20, 22 and 24!
Some more info!
A movie that was a flop when it played theatres in 1946 is now one of the best-loved films of all time. It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Academy Awards but lost money when it was first release.
Inspired by a short story called The Greatest Gift, it’s the story of George Bailey, played by James Stewart, whose Guardian Angel shows him what life in his hometown of Bedford Falls would be like if he had never been born.
Despite being set around Christmas, much of the film was shot during a heat wave. The famous scene on the bridge where George’s angel saves his life was filmed on a back lot in July when the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you look closely you can see Stewart sweating in the scene.
To create a wintry look of Bedford Falls set designers used 3000 tons of shaved ice, 300 tons of gypsum, 300 tons of plaster, and 6000 gallons of chemicals.
Because the movie was shot in the sweltering heat of a Los Angeles summer they had to use fake snow. Instead of using the usual cornflakes painted white—which was loud when stepped on—director Frank Capra and RKO studio’s head of special effects Russel Sherman invented a quiet—and sprayable—version by mixing foamite with sugar, water and soap flakes to create the winter wonderland seen in the movie. The RKO Effects Department received a Class III Scientific or Technical Award from the Motion Picture Academy for the development of the new film snow.
James Stewart said that of all his films, this was his favorite. The American Film Institute agreed, ranking it the #1 Most Powerful Movie of All Time.