I need to be blunt, and a little crass for a moment. When a pastor calls you a slut, you have problems.
That is exactly what pastor and author Greg Asimakoupoulos did in his book Finding God in It's a Wonderful Life. More on that a little later.
She hasn't helped her case, though. Apparently without parents, Violent begins her wayfaring ways at an early age. As children at Gower's Drug Store, she tells a young Mary Hatch, "I like him," referring to George Bailey
A quick-witted and observant Mary replies, “you like every boy.”
Years later, as an adult George talks with his friends Ernie and Bert, Violet, now a sexy, sultry, very adult blonde bombshell, slinks into the scene. She is wearing a provocative sun dress. The focus of the scene changes from the three men chatting to the flirtatious exchange between George and Violet. Bert and Ernie become silent, rubber-necking, drooling idiots who ogle over Violet.
She specifically acknowledges “Mr. Bailey,” but ignores Bert and Ernie. When George complements her dress (he may as well be drooling like the other two men, but seems to have a little more self-control), she gives a flirtatious flip of the hair and comments on how she only wears that dress “when I don’t care how I look.” By the way she looks in this scene, it is doubtful she is telling the truth.
Even the script acknowledges her beauty in this scene, describing Violet as “obviously a little sex machine…Her walk and figure would stop anybody.”
Eventually it does as, according to the script, Violet “swings on down the sidewalk,” and catches the eyes of an older gentleman, who stops walking in the middle of the street and is nearly struck by a car. Violet never looks back to see why the car’s horn is blaring. She knows the effect she has on men. She has tempted four of them in this short scene alone.
Even Bert, Ernie and George watch her walk away. It would be interesting to see how Ernie would have completed his question, “How would you like…,” to which George immediately cuts him off with a resounding “Yes.”
Through Violet’s scenes as a child and as an adult, Capra has established that she is very flirtatious, that she is interested in George Bailey, and that her reputation is, at best, tarnished. Capra even made a note about this while brainstorming ideas for the film: “She doesn’t count sheep to go to sleep, she counts men” (Basinger 22).
Later in the film, after Harry's wedding, George sulks through town, trying to pick up the pieces and figure out his next move. Violet, who is being courted by two men already, abandons them and approaches George. She appeals to him where he is most vulnerable: She is – or appears to be – adventuresome, although not in a travel sense. She asks George, “don’t you ever get tired of just reading about things?”
Our hero, who seems hot to trot at this point, suggests that he and Violet climb Mt. Bedford and go swimming. Is that code for skinny dipping? He contrives a wonderfully scandalous, erotic, thrilling adventure for them. But the idea doesn’t thrill Violet. While she appears to be an adventurous gal, and is seemingly a risk-taker to boot, her idea of adventure is much different than George’s.
Our mind is allowed to wander, as it has before about Violet, that instead of climbing Mt Bedford and risk getting dirty, Violet would rather climb into bed and be dirty.
George’s actions lead us to believe that they would have ended the evening with a roll in the hay – either figuratively or literally – regardless of whose plan they followed. However, George planned to take a side-trip through the grass to get there, and Violet didn’t want to make the effort. While Violet may have appeared attractive to George, she has proven to him once and for all that she is not what he is looking for in a wife. Humiliated, he moves on.
Like George, Violet feels trapped in Bedford Falls. Eventually, she decides to move to New York, but she can't afford to do it without help. She asks George for a loan. At the end of the exchange, she gives George an innocent, well-meaning kiss of friendship and appreciation on the cheek. It leaves a lipstick print, and is witnessed by the bank examiner and others. This innocent kiss starts a wild rumor around town that eventually makes its way to Potter.
Potter confronts George about it. Author Greg Asimakoupoulos observes that "By not refuting the rumors Mr. Potter alleges, George could be falsely accused of inappropriate behavior with the town slut. But here is a man willing to be wrongly labeled in order to stand up for someone he wants to help."
In Pottersville, Violet's proclivities are more pronounced and she is placed in a paddy wagon by police for her predilection.
George has a change of heart during the Pottersville sequence. He realizes that he doesn't have to leave Bedford Falls to find adventure. He has adventure and contentment at home with his family and friends.
At some point, it appears that Violet has come to a similar realization. In about the same amount of time that it took George to make his discovery, Violet has decided to not move to New York after all. It makes me curious to learn her story and how she came to that decision.
It is interesting to note that even Zuzu seems to know Violet’s reputation as the town flirt as she rolls her head and her eyes when she sees Violet during the final scene. Her reputation does, indeed, precede her.
Asimakoupoulos, Greg. “Finding God in It's A Wonderful Life.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/d0e1H.l
Basinger, Jeanine (in Collaboration with the trustees of the Frank Capra Archives), Interviews by
Leonard Maltin. The It’s a Wonderful Life Book. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1996.