Before or after seeing It’s a Wonderful Life on stage at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre (now through December 29), you can see the movie on the big screen tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.
Produced and directed by Frank Capra, It’s A Wonderful Life is based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1943.
The 1946 film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched, and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be if he had never been born.
Joining Oscar winner Stewart in the film are Oscar winners Lionel Barrymore and Thomas Mitchell, future Oscar winners Donna Reed and Gloria Grahame, along with Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, future TV executive Sheldon Leonard (who inspired the names of the two leading characters in TV’s BIG BANG THEORY), and H. B. Warner.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Film starts at 7:00 p.m. Beer, wine, and concessions will be available!
Join the CALS Ron Robinson Theater for HITCHCOCKTOBERFEST! They will be screening FIVE classic Hitchcock films throughout October, and continue the series off tonight (October 17) with Vertigo
The screening starts at 7pm.
The 1958 film is the third collaboration between Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. It also featured Kim Novak (another in the long line of cool, attractive blondes which Hitchcock cast in his movies), Tom Helmore, Barbara Bel Geddes, Henry Jones, and Ellen Corby.
John “Scottie” Ferguson is a former police detective forced into early retirement because an incident in the line of duty caused him to develop acrophobia and vertigo. His fears are confronted when Scottie is hired by an acquaintance, Gavin Elster, as a private investigator to follow Gavin’s wife Madeleine, who is behaving strangely.
The movie was nominated for two Oscars: Best Sound and Best Art Direction.
Join the CALS Ron Robinson Theater for HITCHCOCKTOBERFEST! They will be screening FIVE classic Hitchcock films throughout October, and continue the series off tonight (October 8) with Rear Window.
The screening starts at 7pm.
The 1954 film is the second collaboration between Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. It also featured Grace Kelly (another in the long line of cool, attractive blondes which Hitchcock cast in his movies), Raymond Burr, Thelma Ritter, and Judith Evelyn.
Professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Stewart) breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man (Burr) across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont (Kelly) and his visiting nurse Stella (Ritter) to investigate.
The movie was nominated for four Oscars: Director, Screenplay, Color Cinematography, and Sound. Surprisingly none of the cast were nominated. At the time, Ritter was nominated almost every year in the Best Supporting Actress category, though she never won.
The final movie in this list is Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner. Based on a 1937 Hungarian play, it tells the tale of warring co-workers who are actually conducting an anonymous love affair through lonelyhearts letters. (If this sounds familiar, Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail is based on this movie.)
Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan play the dueling lovers with Frank Morgan as their boss. Others in the cast include Joseph Schildkraut as a cad, Inez Courtney as a bad girl with a heart of gold, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, and William Tracy as other workers. There are mixups and confusions in the quiet, leisurely paced romantic comedy. Stewart plays a character who is not completely noble – he has fun teasing Sullavan when he realizes who she is, but knows she hasn’t a clue he is the correspondent. Sullavan is a delight too. The rest of the cast giddily inhabit their roles.
The movie ends with the characters all getting what they deserved. However there is a layer of poignancy. Given its setting of (an unnamed) Budapest in the late 1930s, the audience knows what they don’t – the Nazis will soon be marching through and destroying happiness. At the time the film was released, the US was not yet in World War II, and the outcome was far from certain.
The movie ends on Christmas Eve. It is during a gift exchange that the (probably temporary) happy endings unfold for the characters.
This film and the European play also inspired the MGM musical In the Good Old Summertime (set in a music store) and the Broadway musical She Loves Me. Of all the remakes, only She Loves Me keeps the setting in Budapest in the late 1930s, and thus the added layer of poignancy.