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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Relevancy of It's A Wonderful Life

Watched It's a Wonderful Life in an old theatre in Chicago last night. Do it every year, but this year was different. The audience always participates which is something we digital creatures don't really get. But the participation this year had the resonance of our time. When Potter would appear on the screen everyone would hiss and boo. And when Clarence appeared everyone jingled their bells. But it was the scenes with George Bailey that were different this year. This year, people listened like their houses depended on it.

Take the scene after George's fathers death. George tells the board of the The Building and Loan to do what they want but they should keep it open so people don't have to crawl to Potter. And then Potter insults Georges father and this brings the heart if not the speech of the movie....iis it too much to ask for people to have a few walls and a roof over their head, well my father didn't think so, but to you people are a cattle... The audience was so silent you could hear a pin drop and at the end of his speech people stood up and cheered!

Then there were the scenes during The Great Depression. George struggles to keep The Building and Loan open and uses his own money. An eerie silence came into the theatre, people watching people from sixty years before struggling with the fear they were going to lose everything. When the Building and Loan didn't close and George mades his famous papa dollar and mama dollar proclamation, again, people cheered and clapped.

And then of course at the end when George is going to kill himself and is rescued by his friends. Frank Capras view of life comes through and George is toasted by his friends as the richest man in town, the people in the audience cried and sang along to Auld Lang Syne. And then we filed out and I watched people emerge with smiles on thier faces. Good Cheer and Christmas of course. But maybe hope...that  somewhere there still is  a place where we can be saved by the people who love us.

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Books by William Hazelgrove