‘It’s a Wonderful Life’: 16 Surprising Facts on the Film’s 70th Anniversary

Posted by Larry Gleeson

This is one of my all-time favorite holiday films!

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TheWrap takes a look at some fun trivia about “It’s a Wonderful Life” directed by Frank Capra, courtesy of Alonso Duralde, IMDb and Old Hollywood biographer Robert Matzen in his new book, “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe.

From Beatrice Verhoeven and Alonso Duralde, provided by The Wrap

According to Alonso Duralde’s book, “Have Yourself a Very Movie Christmas,” Uncle Billy actor Thomas Mitchell was actually considered to play Mr. Potter, but Lionel Barrymore got the role because of his popularity after radio versions of “A Christmas Carol.”

Jimmy the Raven appeared in Capra’s “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938) and other post-“Wonderful Life” Capra movies.

The film was such a financial disappointment that it busted Capra’s production company, Liberty Films.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was the first and last time Capra produced, financed, directed and co-wrote a film.

The original screenplay began with a scene in Benjamin Franklin’s workshop in heaven.

Yes, Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street” have the same names as the cop and the cab driver in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But it’s just a coincidence, “Muppet” insiders have claimed.

It’s a Wonderful Life” was Jimmy Stewart’s first picture after 20 months on the front lines of WWII. He was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while filming.

According to IMDb, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was ranked as the #1 Most Inspiration Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute in 2006.

It is also the only film in history to originate from a greeting card.

James Stewart has said that while filming the scene in which George prays in the bar, he began to sob and later, Capra re-framed the now much closer shot to capture his expression. That’s why the shot appears grainy compared to the rest of the film.

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Nick the Bartender (left) in a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life. (Photo via Bostonhassle.com)

Actor and producer Sheldon Leonard said that he only agreed to play Nick the bartender so he could buy baseball tickets with his paycheck.

Robert J. Anderson said H.B. Warner really was drunk in the scene in which Mr. Gower slaps George. The real slaps caused real blood to ooze out of Anderson’s ear. After the cameras stopped rolling, he comforted Anderson.

(Source: Excerpt from http://m.chron.com)

 

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