It was an annual Christmas tradition, and I wasn't alluding to the opening of Christmas gifts before the clock would strike 12 midnight on the 25th of December. Tears seemed to well in my mother's eyes whenever we watched "It's a Wonderful Life", and she never got tired of seeing this black-and-white movie. She didn't like the colored version, as she believed that Frank Capra wouldn't like it. My first viewing overwhelmed me, as Bedford Falls seemed too good to be true. Mom insisted that this was America of yesteryear, where the citizens don't have to worry about anything at all. They don't need to worry, as they instinctively knew that someone would back them up.
I studied Frank Capra during my first year in the university, and it was an opportunity to be familiar with his films. They were deceptively simple, yet it would be a huge mistake to categorize his works. The characters in his films have good intention, not even a trace of malice and ill feeling towards another person. Some would point out that Capra's stories have a villain or two, but this would be traditional storytelling in cinema. The warmth could be traced to Capra's background. (He was the son of Italian immigrants.) Hope would float, which may be an immigrant's great expectation about his new homeland.
Capra helmed "Arsenic and Old Lace", which was my favorite film (of his). It was a dark comedy on familial ties, lunacy, and a certain Teddy Roosevelt. Those who have seen some of Capra's works would disagree with me, as they could fall for his old-fashioned, feel-good tales. I couldn't blame them, as Americans would slowly retreat to the dark side. It had nothing to do with "Star Wars".
Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.
George Bailey contemplated suicide until an old man dropped by to rescue him. What would happen next could remind some viewers of "A Christmas Carol", but Capra wasn't using Charles Dickens as a reference. (Philip Van Doren Stern's "The Greatest Gift" was the basis for this fantasy drama.) Clarence Odbody, who turned out to be his guardian angel, gave him a glimpse of his yesteryear. George was a generous soul, often going out of his way for his loved ones. It hardly changed when George established Bailey Park, which would allow the residents of Bedford Falls to live in their own homes than paying rent.
This simple story clearly defined the American Dream, which would be having a roof over one's head, warm food on the table, a loving, supportive family, and good neighbors to look out. Perhaps Capra sensed that this concept would hardly change at all. The America of present time may be far from this goody town, but there were little modifications in the concept. The inhabitants of Bedford Falls showed their appreciation to George when it mattered most, and the film's last twenty minutes touched Mom. Gratitude would be an acknowledgment of the goodness, and perhaps Americans would need to show it more than ever. It made me wondered what happened to America, as the case of George Bailey turned into a fairy tale.