On December 20, 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life premiered at the Globe Theatre in New York. The story is based on the short story “The Greatest Gift“, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939. Frank Capra produced and directed this classic, which is on every year around Christmas time without fail. This movie of course, would make a great Christmas gift, or would be great movie, to just sit down with the family to view together.
The story takes place in Bedford Falls. James Stewart plays George Bailey, and Donna Reed play Mary Hatch Bailey with Henry Travers playing Clarence. George Bailey always wanted to be a world traveler, his life becomes sidetracked by his father’s business, Bailey Building and Loan Association when he ends up running it, but Bailey is able to make a nice life for himself. His nemesis is Mr. Henry F. Potter, the banker, played by Lionel Barrymore, and known to be a slumlord and majority shareholder in the Building and Loan Association who doesn’t believe in helping the poor. He is not happy when the Bailey Building and Loan starts loaning money for the poor so they can have their own homes. He wants them to life in Potter’s Field. Life is not anything like George Bailey planned.
Mr. Henry F. Potter knows everyone hates him in town and is not afraid to say it. “George, I am an old man, and most people hate me. But I don’t like them either so that makes it all even.”
It is obvious he is a stick in the mud, and will always be unhappy and wants to bring the world down with him, but he wants all the money, and probably thought a long time ago that that might make him happy.
This movie reminds us what Christmas is all about, helping people so that they can make a better life for themselves. It is not about shopping and sales, and materialism. Sometimes the greatest gift you may have to gift is something you made or something of your own. It is could also be a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation that may be nothing more than paste but has sentiment. We don’t love people because of their materialistic things. That is like demanding gifts. The best gift you can have is being together.