Monday, 19 December 2011

It's a wonderful life!

Saturday afternoon, having made no plans with anyone while my boy's away, I saw online that the Prince of Wales theatre in Leicester Square, was showing It's a Wonderful Life.

I love that film, though only ever remember seeing it on a teeny portable, so seduced by a big screen and a £4 entry (I'm a member of the cinema!!) off I went.

Do you know, I never realised that the film was all about housing! Yeah! Ok, not all about housing but Bailey's Buildings and Loans is central to the whole film. George, dreams of going travelling but has to stay and run his father's company, which offers loans and affordable housing for the town's inhabitants.

The alternative for the town of Bedford Falls is wealthy slumlord Potter, who evicts people who can't afford his high rents... Remind you of anything today? Any party in particular?

After marrying and raising four children George starts up Bailey Park, an affordable housing project so people have an alternative to Potters expensive rents in rundown slums.

Towards the end of the tale, George goes to commit suicide off the local bridge (our local paper is awash with people doing the same thing over Archway Bridge (though there's a road beneath it, not water like in the film so sorry sorry sorry about the pun).

Bedford Falls without George is Potterville. The housing project doesn't exist. The high street with its mix of independent stores and buildings are now nightclubs, pawnshops, strip clubs. My street is all tanning centres, saunas, cafes and five supermarkets. Five! Like we need five. You can only buy clothes in one of three charity shops on my high street. The road's not even a mile long.

Just last week Mary Portas delivered a damning report on our high streets. We're all supposed to go to malls now. Welcome to the new American State of Great Britain...Free healthcare? Ha ha ha, get an insurance...

It is a lovely film, much lovelier than I've described here. Mary (Donna Reed), George's wife, is so beautiful. George (James Stewart)...

I cry everytime I see this film but what I noticed on Saturday is that I start crying after George has been rescued by the angel Clarence.

I howl as all his friends come to help him after his wife has gone out and told them he's under arrest.

One word though to people watching it on their own.
The inscription inside a copy of Tom Sawyer that Angel Clarence gives to George says: "Remember that no man is a failure who has friends." It's not true is what I thought as I sat there on my own.
I'm not a failure am I stigs?

I've heard the film is out in colour. I don't think I would like it in colour. I think it would take away the romance, take away the warmth, make it look dated as Rosie Scribble found it.

The message is very strong today. Look at what you've got. Don't look at your debt or your past or your future, just look at what you've got, starting with your breath, with any luck.

It's not an easy life I will warrant and I will say a prayer for those who have nobody on Christmas day and for all those who feel very alone, which will be many many people.

I'm not alone, am I stigs, even when my boy's not with me.

Achy achy heart though, come home soon son!


Anonymous said...

Yes, the film is right that you're not a failure if you've got friends. I'd agree with you that this is a key message. I also think that times of crisis cause you find out, perhaps all too quickly, who is your friend and who isn't. But I get the impression that you've got a fair number of good friends including me ;-)

Stigmum said...

Thanks! Yes, at times of crisis, especially if the crisis lasts a long time, you find out exactly who are your friends. It was sad for me to lose a bundle but I do have a fair number of good ones. Thanks for reminding me:)