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It's a Wonderful Life

Secret Movie Club Presents: It's A Wonderful Life

December 24, 2021

11 AM / Showtime

The Million Dollar Theater / Event Location

"And so twas the night before Christmas, and our cinema booth threaded up a 35 of the Jimmy Stewart & Donna Reed starring Frank Capra holiday classic It's A Wonderful Life to keep our cinema holiday tradition alive.

Another movie in this programmer's all-time top 35, It's A Wonderful Life is one of those cinema gifts from the moviemaking magi.

It has a wonderful structure. We learn right away from angels gathering for what is basically a "catch up training seminar" due to overheard prayers that George Bailey is considering killing himself. They then call up his guardian angel Clarence who hasn't yet earned his wings to get up to speed.

We see George Bailey's life from his childhood good deeds for his family and others through his marriage to wonderful and resilient Mary Bailey and his many battles with the local millionaire miser, Mr. Potter, who wants nothing more than to destroy George Bailey. Because George Bailey has been able to thwart Potter's aim to own the town at every town.

Then finally the moment of truth comes as George Bailey stands on a bridge on Christmas Eve wondering how he'll save his family from a ruin that Potter has devised and his guardian angel shows up. . .

Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Frank Capra all considered this the best movie they ever made. And we agree. It's a Wonderful Life achieves the Capra ideal of showing how people, at their best, can be both wonderfully independent and contributing members of their community, looking out for the other fella'.

But it also weaves in a magical and transcendent level that only a handful of moviemakers-Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Dreyer, Scorsese, Lynch-have ever truly been able to pull off.

The third act of the movie is about as good as it gets in terms of cinema. And we're screening it as our final holiday thank you and best wishes to you and yours. On 35mm. In a movie palace."


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