Watching this Jimmy Stewart treasure has always been one of the high points of my Christmas season. I look forward to it all year, and I cry at the end every single time, even though I know most of the dialogue by heart. I’ll pick up eggnog and popcorn this week and settle in after my Zoom Christmas Eve service.
If you’re also sharing quality time with Jimmy & Donna, perhaps this bit of history from my fellow blogger Richard Daybell will enrich your experience. Merry Christmas week!

 

Wretched Richard's Almanac

Frank Capra said that it was his favorite of the many movies he made throughout a phenomenal career. He screened it for his family every Christmas season. Yet it’s initial 1946 release at the Globe Theater in New York did not bring about yuletide euphoria and visions of sugar plums. It’s a Wonderful Life premiered to mixed and sometimes dismissive reviews, but it went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made, garnering a permanent spot in every list of the top films of the last century.

From its very beginning, it did not inspire great expectations. It was based on an original story “The Greatest Gift”written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939. After being unsuccessful in getting the story published, Stern made it into a Christmas card, and mailed 200 copies to family and friends in 1943. In 1944, RKO Pictures ran across the…

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