The holiday film staple “It’s a Wonderful Life” will show Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as part of the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre’s classic film series.
Voted the No. 1 inspirational film of all time in American Film Institute’s “100 Years, 100 Cheers,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order 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 had he never been born.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. It was nominated for five Oscars. Capra revealed that this was his personal favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season.
A clerical error prevented the copyright from being renewed properly in 1974, so the film was considered public domain and became a perennial holiday favorite in the 1980s, possibly due to its repeated showings each holiday season on hundreds of local television stations. After a Supreme Court case, it went back under copyright in 1998.
“There are some classic films you need to see on a big screen with an audience to really enjoy, and what better film could you see for Christmas,” said Laurie Rambaud, film series instigator at the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre. “Last time it was in theaters was 1946. If you saw it then, it’s about time you saw it again.”
Before each film, the Backstage will clue you in on some of the secrets of the film, so you can look out for them. For example, the scene on the bridge where Clarence saves George was filmed on a back lot on a day where the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why James Stewart is visibly sweating in a few scenes. Now you can play “Spot the sweaty guy” while you watch.
January’s film is “Metropolis” (1927), the mother of all Science Fiction films, on Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the classic film series, visit www.backstagetheatre.org or call (970) 453-0199.