Jewish World Review Dec. 21, 2010 / 14 Teves, 5771
It's Still a Wonderful Life
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | To many of us, the season wouldn't be complete without at least a few scenes from "It's a Wonderful Life." The movie wasn't much of a hit when it was first released just after the Second World War, but it's acquired quite a following since -- and even a certain critical acclaim.
But there are those who still give it a thumb's down. Years ago I read a (too) critical analysis of "It's a Wonderful Life" by a professor of American Studies at
That's about the only similarity between the professor's take on the movie and mine -- because I've shed a few tears myself over "It's a Wonderful Life." But not for the professor's reasons. Nothing in the movie seems as sad to me as the professor's analysis of it. Take it from somebody who ended up marrying his high-school sweetheart: A tragedy it isn't. It can be a comedy, an education, a dance to the music of time ...l that and a lot more. But a tragedy? Please.
As for the idea that not getting to
I think about "t's A Wonderful Life" and small towns and happy marriages and lives well spent when I remember a banker I knew in Pine Bluff. His name was
How did they do it? Beats me. You just take one banker's wife (Mrs. Ayres), the local strings teacher (
Southern ladies are like that, or at least I hope they still are. One day they casually mention that the town could use an arts center or library or, in this case, a symphony orchestra, and the next thing you know, you're buying season tickets. It all seems to come together as graciously as an afternoon tea. Complete with those little cucumber sandwiches with the crusts removed.
I don't think I could explain how all this happened to that professor in
Not all the characters in the movie are heroes. And not every banker is a
At that moment, like the professor in
The movie is a celebration of the ordinary middle-class virtues -- like fidelity and family, not to mention hope, faith and charity. Virtues that aren't nearly ordinary enough in these times, or in any other.
I often think of that professor/film critic at this time of the year. I hope he's had many a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year since he wrote that silly review -- and, yes, a wonderful life.
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