Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blogging From A to Z - H is for Harry and Hydrangea

Welcome to the It's A Wonderful Blog's Blogging From A to Z April (2015) Challenge. For this challenge, I will post every day in April (except for Sundays) about topics related to the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart film, It's a Wonderful Life.

Harry Bailey:

Sure, he's a war hero, but what kind of brother is he?
Harry Bailey, portrayed by Todd Karns
Source: http://www.zuzu.net/essays/todd_karns.html

He caused George to lose his hearing in one ear. Okay...I can give him that. It was an accident.

When the future of the Bailey Building and Loan was threatened, George gave his college money to Harry. So Harry earned his degree on George's earned money. There was a catch. Harry was supposed to take over the Building and Loan so that George could go to college.

But he couldn't even manage that. Harry left George hanging by getting married and taking a job with his father-in-law instead of taking the job he was SUPPOSED to take in Bedford Falls. Had he done that, George could have taken the trip and gotten the education he was patiently waiting for. Instead, George got stiffed because Harry was selfish.

He has some redeeming qualities. He came home when George needed him the most. But let's face it, he was coming home that night anyway....for a celebration in his honor...and didn't bring his wife, even though it is Christmas. So really, he was only coming home for selfish reasons, anyway.

And he didn't help George out financially. The only thing he managed to do was give a two-sentence, 10-word toast.

Perhaps the most endearing quality Harry possesses is that he saved a transport ship full of soldiers during World War II. He's a war hero, and I won't dishonor the armed forces by saying that he wasn't a hero or didn't deserve the Medal of Honor. However, as noble as that is, the reality is that he wouldn't have been able to do that if George hadn't saved him from the ice.

Harry was kind of a turd, come to think of it.

Hydrangea:

The hydrangea bush is the source of some of the sexiest, most suggestive dialogue in the film...at least in a scene that doesn't involve Violet.

Mary has lost her robe because George accidentally stepped on it while Mary was running. Technically, it was the creepy, nosey bald guy's fault.

In an unfortunate display, George actually whistles for Mary. He whistles like a master beckoning his dog. It's ridiculous. It's unfortunate. The clip is below. The action starts around the 3 minute mark. What does this say about the sexual politics of the late 1920s (when the scene was set), or the 1940s (when It's a Wonderful Life was released)?

Despite that, we get the sense that they could become very close if this scene would be allowed to play out. Unfortunately, their moment is disrupted by the death of George's father. It will be another four years before George and Mary can explore their relationship further.