Well, here it is, the 20th and last ever COMEDY GOLD (booo!). Like DOUBLE BILL last year, I thought I’d end this series of posts on a positive note. And what better way to do that than with the most uplifting movie of all time? That’s right, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, dir. Frank Capra) is the last featured movie on COMEDY GOLD, and Clarence (Henry Travers) gets the spotlight.
In this scene, Clarence has just been rescued by George Bailey (James Stewart in an Oscar-nominated performance) after deliberately jumping in the river in order to save George himself – we all know the story by now, right? As Clarence explains who he is and why he did what he did – he’s an angel trying to get his wings -, the reactions of both George and the tollhouse keeper (Tom Fadden) are priceless, especially considering how non-chalant Clarence is about the whole ordeal. Towards the end of the scene, Clarence has granted George his wish of never having been born, and the movie takes an even darker turn, but for a while there, it goes from drama to comedy to drama again in such a seemingly natural way, while also establishing Clarence and George’s relationship, creating a sort of banter between them in the process. This moment showcases It’s a Wonderful Life’s ability to balance drama, comedy and fantasy better than arguably any other in the film, while delivering its now iconic message. As per usual, you will read this on every film blog out there throughout December, but… it truly is the ultimate Christmas film (sorry, Die Harders).