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It's a Wonderful Life Collector's Set is a Real Holiday Pleaser

Updated on November 20, 2013

If you're a member of one of these new fangled Wordy Generations, such as the Gen X, the Millennial, or even the Baby Boomer Generation, chances are you didn't see the original film in an old movie house, like I did.

Back in our family's youthful days we braved the icy winds and snows in Fairbanks, Alaska, where winter temperatures often plunged to 60 degrees below zero. Our phone was one of those black Bakelite jobbies that preceeded dial telephones, and it stood on a desk in the living room.

Movies, if we knew the term at all as elementary schoolkids,

lived in Southern California. Oh, we knew that region, because after my drowning and revival at a hard rock mine in the interior of Alaska, back in the late 40s, my parents whisked us kids off to the Golden State's far south region, to the warm embrace of an uncle and aunt we kids had never met.

That's not all we hadn't met before, and

we didn't want to embrace everything that popped up in the desert night. My aunt and uncle had children our same ages and for a time we even lived in the same house, until we found the place of our own where the tarantula spooked my mom one night and her shrieks tore us kids from our beds.

So we dealt with mega spiders and snakes

and such. We learned to love earthquakes for the amusement park type rides they delivered when they struck while we lay awake in our folding-army-cots, that my uncle quickly purchased to house the Alaskan mine refugees for a time.

This was where I enjoyed the wonders of turning a plastic bagged malleable white blob into a new butter substitute - margarine. We girls spent many an hour sitting out on the curb of the subdivision squeezing white into yellow. It was pure kid homemaker joy.

Into this dazzling life came a movie

that turned our world black and white. These were the 40s and no one we knew had a television set. For entertainment we sat around the dinner table chatting and telling stories, as a family. During daytime the men went to their jobs and the women fed and played with the kids in a super safe neighborhood that held no open water wells, like we had fled from the mine.

Our lives sure felt dreamlike, with all the adventure

a child can hope for. Then we went to the movie - the whole bunch of us. I was a little scared by the grand family adventure into the movie theater and then the onslaught of Henry's wishing to drown in water, something I had just escaped from. Oh, I couldn't put that together in words, being too young.

But I heard my mom's comments and I caught her feelings. She was still traumatized about my near death; that was why we were in California - to get away from it all.

In the 60s Mom and I caught the film together again

on television and we both had an entirely different take on it. Why, oh why would anyone want to take their own lives, we pondered. We were both newlyweds, enthralled with the goodness of life.

The film challenged us to step over our shared niavete, to disect Henry's life, to examine the ways our existence affects the lives of others. Mom, true to her independent spirit, didn't take it much further than possibility, reserving the act of taking one's own life as a right she was unwilling to relinquish.

Me, literally enfolded in my religious faith, I knew suicide was wrong, and it was a leap for me to set aside that conviction long enough to examine familial interactions in my own family of origin, without blame. Entrance into Henry's life enhanced my understanding of some of the old ancestral tales, with much sadness and appreciation.

background image It's a Wonderful Life from WikiCommons

Imagine that this film came out today! Would we be calling it a Communist Conspiracy? That's what happened after it's release.

  1. The year the movie came out the U.S. FBI indicted it in a memo, saying that the formation of the banker's persona in It's a Wonderful Life was a purposeful move to smear the whole profession of money handlers. They maintained that he was the most detestable person in the film. The memo maintained that promoting this negative impression of bankers was often a Communist subterfuge perpetrated on the gullible.
  2. One contributor to the memo maintained that bakers were benevolent in their attitudes towards their deposit holders, so they should be depicted as worthy characters. The miscreant, the document said, was Henry.

citations: Communist Propaganda and Communist Spread

Will Chen writes on WiseBread that It's a Wonderful Life

was produced at a time when even small towers were being courted by the big banker guys, to put their money where it was safer and better off. He draws the parallel between the 2013 continuing struggle of individually owned hardware shops to maintain standing, against the mass consumer offerings of the mega home improvement stores.

He obtained redacted copies of the actual FBI memos, and you can see them for yourself on the link to his site, above.

Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street

This movie captures the heart of everyone who wishes and dreams and loves the innocent, like the little girl.

Kris Kringle tugs at our heartstrings as he ages into a benevolent senility, and links up with the girl, Susan, played by a favorite of mine, Natalie Wood.

The two characters spin the kind of magic that can only be called love and generosity of spirit on the stodgy adults who are acting the part.

 
White Christmas (Anniversary Edition)
White Christmas (Anniversary Edition)

Coming from the Wintry scenes of Alaska, when I first heard this song in the 50s of my childhood it called up all the freedom and joy of play on a snow filled landscape.

Later on I learned to play the tune on the piano and the feelings have been forever linked since then.

 
Holiday Inn (Special Edition)
Holiday Inn (Special Edition)

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire infuse Irving Berlin's songs with all the resonance of a happy stuffed turkey, with gifts awaiting unwrapping.

A dozen songs, new for this film include White Christmas and Easter Parade.

 

Did you or do you watch these movies? Did any of them impact your life?

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    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      It is a great classic movie I have ever watched! :)

    • RazzbarryBreeze profile image

      RazzbarryBreeze 4 years ago

      Love these movies. It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street probably my 2 favorite holiday movies oh and Christmas Vacation as well! Thanks for sharing this ..Merry Christmas !

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      We watch Miracle on 34th Street each Thanksgiving and the others throughout the holiday season. I haven't seen It's A Wonderful Life for a few years, but started watching it the other night. I actually like Holiday Inn better than White Christmas. I suppose I'm in the minority with that opinion. I do like the costumes in White Christmas though. All are good family movies indeed.

    • WordChipper profile image

      WordChipper 4 years ago

      Watching "IT's a Wonderful Life" is a Christmas tradition in our family.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      I love all these films. I was brought up on them! Thanks for reminding me of them - time my son watched them now! They do remind you of what Christmas should be all about. They have impacted my life -they have turned me into a total softie!

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Great set!

    • Rock Artist profile image

      Rock Artist 4 years ago

      Um, not sure if you need to know this, but the main character in "It's a Wonderful Life" is "George" Bailey, not Henry.

    • Rock Artist profile image

      Rock Artist 4 years ago

      I watch it every year, and cry tears of joy at the end. I just love this movie!

    • profile image

      Vantis 4 years ago

      Well, I'm a young one, but fortunately I decided to watch old movies too. Even black and white silent ones. What a great decision that was :) I found such treasures of art of which I had never dreamed of.

      "It's a Wonderful Life" is absolutely one of them, just as the "Miracle on 34th Street"

      Good to know that there was a time when movie industry delivered such charming, hearth-warming stories like these.

      Check out my first lens, if you like. It is about the Best Movies of 1919.

      http://www.squidoo.com/movieguide1919

    • Kimberley Vico profile image

      Kimberley Vico 4 years ago

      A wonderful article on this wonderful movie. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This one is on my list of Christmas movies to watch.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Yes! Several times over the years. Not sure of an impact though they bring sweet memories and smiles still today. Lovely lens!

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      Yea, I loved It's a Wonderful life. You have created a great review here.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I am from Indiana, PA, Jimmy Stewart's home town. I grew up with this and so many other wonderful Christmas movies. A favorite family pastime!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      Gee, I had no idea the FBI indicted this movie in a memo.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 4 years ago

      I have always loved "It's a Wonderful Life." For the most part, we have no idea how our life and our actions affect those around us, and what consequences they can produce, ripple-like. Living a good life can benefit so many others. And living a bad life can hurt so many others. Much food for thought.

    • Mommie-Moola profile image

      Mommie-Moola 4 years ago

      Nope, didn't see it in a theater but I've seen it on TV. Definitely a holiday favorite

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have all of them in my dvd holiday collection. As a matter of fact, I pulled one out last night, "A Christmas Carol", the one that was made in 1938. These are just wonderful movies and I don't wait until the holidays to pull them out. I watch some of them all through the year.

      "It's a Wonderful Life" is a classic. I have the 60th Anniversary Edition and I tell you that I'm either laughing or crying throughout the whole movie. What about that dance scene? When I first saw the movie, I thought they were going to "charleston" right into the pool!

      This is a great lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 4 years ago from USA

      This is by far my favorite holiday movie.