it’s a wonderful life

6 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

{Image Credit: RKO Pictures}

With the holidays officially here, there is no better tradition than cozying up on the couch in your comfy PJs, indulging in festive treats and cocoa, watching a film inspired by the season. But while so many movies have been released over the years specifically for the Christmas season, no film has created quite the impact on our culture than Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.

Considered a game-changer in the festive film genre, the film is among a list of Hollywood’s greatest movies thanks to its powerful message that allows us to understand life’s most valuable lessons through the eyes of the iconic, George Bailey, played by James Stewart.

Whether you love it or hate it though, it’s a masterpiece that has stood the test of time each and every year. Moreover, with its deep meaning and solid characterizations, it’s truly an evergreen classic, bearing great similitude to our evolving social climate and the relationships we forge throughout our life.

In honor of the film’s 70th anniversary and its immense richness in pop culture, we pay our love and respects to the film with six very interesting facts you might not have ever known about the richest film in town.

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Reflections in the ‘Bend’

During a very serene and introspective moment last week in snowy old South Bend, I had the opportunity to reflect on my life in a quiet, barren city. As previously mentioned on his birthday, the winter season tends to be a hard one for me. Where do all the memories go when a relationship breaks? Why is it easier for some and not others? More importantly, how did he manage to forget in an instant? I wish he could tell me. Incessant thoughts worth six years are cast into words as nothing, yet become immense distractions that keep you wide awake wondering where it all went wrong.

This month has been interesting and in some ways, emotional. I don’t really know what to say except there are aching moments when I miss him still and it gets hard knowing in this great big place, he sleeps soundly without a single toss and turn. While I had been up north that week to meet up with family, I got a chance to walk the lone chilly sidewalks and really catch a glimpse of my place in this great big world—or in this case, state.

While watching It’s A Wonderful Life tonight (also known as, one of my all-time favorite films), I thought back to that moment in South Bend as I walked beautifully dusted sidewalks. If I never loved who I did and the way I did, I don’t think I could be who I am today, where I am today. In every understanding of my own life, I can proudly say now that I am content with myself and who I am because in every ounce of pain felt from these past six years and more so in these last two, I know who I am and my purpose in this world now. We don’t always get the dream house, but we get pretty close. And if I happen to tread a Kathleen Kelly kind of life sans Joe Fox (“I am a lone reed”), that’s alright because it’s better to be alone than in a relationship that makes you feel alone. Relationships have shown me that you don’t need a significant other to lead a significant life. As long as you are content with yourself and are true to that person you see in a window’s reflection, you are never completely alone.

Call it a holiday miracle or what you will, but those wintry streets opened my eyes and made me realize I have never felt more at home than I am when I am in Indiana. I have always loved this state and continue to, even though sometimes and especially in the past two years, memories sneak up and cast a shadow of doubt on my worth. These thoughts force you into a train of thinking falsified by fear and doubt, and make you think you don’t belong anywhere, especially where your heart feels more at peace. But those thoughts are nothing compared to what you truly feel deep down in your gut and the world you build for yourself. As I’ve lived my hardest in these past two years by working off my gut, living my truth and driving forth from passion, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged more in one place than I do today. Whether in Indy or South Bend, Goshen or Muncie, my soul in some odd way just feels a consistent concord no matter where I am in Indiana.

While work has given me immense strength and has been a helpful toll in fulfilling voids felt by loss, I have learned so much more about my heart and its honesty than I ever imagined. Every moment lived through this beating chest has taught me how important every step I take is to my life and the lives of others. I have been through rough patches along this path, but have learned every good thing you do with your whole heart, every ounce of love you put forth, it all makes a difference no matter how hard it is to see at first. While he might be moving on and is happier than can be, I have come to accept that nothing is ever conceived in vain even if things go awry. I have loved with my whole heart and still do, and I will not regret that even as I walk lonely sidewalks in a hushed city.

Tonight I count my blessings for that which I had, that which I have, that which I will receive and that which God has prepared me for. These past few years have proven to me that living an honest life built off love, passion and self-trust is a great way to understand your worth and reiterate that no heart is ever broken in vain. It might have been hard to understand during those months of crying to sleep and trying so hard to fathom why something so internal, so deep within you, a piece of your identity, could be shattered almost instantly as if there was no barrier to begin with. But over the course of time, if that broken heart was sincere and truthful, it grows stronger and allows you to see right through who you are to help you figure out your purpose and meaning.

I miss him. I love him. Some nights will be hard. Some days in northern Indiana will be harder, but I have come to accept that now because God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.

“All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

Do The Potters of the World Escape Karma?

Mr Potter

Galatians 6:7 – “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life’s relationships and karma. There are some really mean, heartless people out there. They manage to use you, step on you, take advantage of your feelings, bully you into a corner, throw you under a bus, and all of it for the sake of their own selfish gain. Sure, cruel and cutting remarks are shared everyday in our world, but 99 percent of the time, we’re hurt by the ones we know and love. And unfortunately, these injuries run deeper than expected and are more painful because the person who is the source of love suddenly betrays that affection and promise, either intentionally or otherwise. (Though in this case, fear of abandonment and family history.)

I have been hurt by people like this—two walking oddities (only one of whom I care for and love) that I appropriately bid as Tom and Daisy (Fitzgerald’s tragic characters from The Great Gatsby). We know the story of Tom and Daisy, egocentric beings, living away from others, who tread the path of shallow rug sweepers. They do what they want and manage to get what they want. But this isn’t about the two of them. This is more about the divine—the Universe and God.

Do you recall Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life? He was incredibly cruel. Treated everyone most heartlessly and with contempt. Lately, during nights of crying and reflection, I think about Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter, somewhat infamous for being the heartless villain of the film, gets away with all the horrible actions he made by the end of the film. While lovable, sweet and kind George Bailey goes on an epiphany quest with Clarence Oddbody, Mr. Potter keeps the money Uncle Billy lost, and rats him out for fraud to the bank examiner. Of course, everything works out for George but the karmic reactions of Mr. Potter go unseen, which makes you wonder…

Did he get away with it? Does he ever get away with it? Actually, the question I want to ask is, do the Mr. (and Miss) Potters of the world get away with the wrongs they commit? Some nights I feel like they do. I have seen plenty of people in my time get away with being mean, cruel and heartless to others. As a matter of fact, we see it every day in the workplace, politics, social settings, etc. And it’s not fair. While laying in bed tonight, staring at the ceiling as the lights of cars make their way through the blinds, the thought crosses my mind that Mr. (and Miss) Potter are going to get away with hurting others because they’ve become smart. They’ve become the apt pupil when it comes to manipulating a circumstance for their own gain. And they’ve learned this from watching others, quietly, shyly and let’s be honest, not everyone has a happy ending like George Bailey.

While I’m mentally stronger than others I know, I still feel pain in my heart from past situations. The pain is never going to leave as I truly believe our scars are a defining part of us and the most important part of us. They teach us things, they show us our real worth and prove to us how settling is for losers. But karma, whether good or bad is something that I know exists. I’ve seen it complement my faith as to when I do good things in the universe, good things come back. And thankfully, with the path I’ve been treading, God has graced me with kindness and love. And I still see it because I’ve chosen to live that way since letting go of Tom and Daisy in some physical sense.

But it makes me wonder about the bad people in life. The Toms and Daisys, and Mr. Potters. The hurtful people. The ones who betray your trust and heart. Do they ever get what they deserve? Why do the Mr. (and Miss) Potters of the world get away with hurting others, breaking their hearts and turning their backs? I know life isn’t fair, but karma. Does it exist for such beings? It doesn’t seem to and it makes me wonder if they’ll ever outsmart karma as they have with so many others.

Do the Potters of the world truly get away with it?

How Life is So ‘Wonderful’ According To Capra

Throughout the years there have been many films that have created quite an impact but none can really compare to Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. The film isn’t really just a film. It’s more of a study in hardship, frustration, and lost hope that serve as a valuable life lesson through the eyes of George Bailey, a simple man at the end of his rope and his journey through an alternate vision of reality.

It’s a masterpiece and one of the most important films in our cinematic history. Not only does a film like this bear great similitude to our social climate today with people losing their jobs, mortgages in default, banks on the teeter-totter, and the poor and middle-class getting poorer while the rich get richer; but it never fails to touch us personally in themes of great relation through life as we know it. It’s A Wonderful Life shows us the value of an individual and the contribution to the greater good that he can make.

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