Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Movie Review - It Happened One Christmas

In 2014, there was discussion about the potential for a sequel to It's a Wonderful Life. But way before that ever happened, there was the remake. Today, remakes are a dime a dozen. Disney is making a fortune right now remaking their animated classics into live action films.

In 1977, It's a Wonderful Life was remade as the made-for-TV movie It Happened One Christmas, starring Marlo Thomas, Orson Welles, Wayne Rogers, and Cloris Leachman.

It is basically the same film with most of the dialogue intact.

The largest difference is that It Happened One Christmas focuses on Mary Bailey instead of George. In fact, George's last name is Hatch, and Mary is a Bailey by birth.

Some minor changes include:
  • Angels are summoned with the "Hallelujah Chorus" instead of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
  • Uncle Billy is renamed Uncle Willie.
  • Zuzu is renamed Susie.
  • The film occurs in 1944 instead of 1947.
  • George goes to war. Mary is a military wife.
Otherwise, this is practically the same film. So when I first watched it in the late 1990s, I blew it off. I viewed it as a weak attempt to ride the coattails of a popular film in a weak remake for the sole purpose of promoting a women's rights agenda. To a degree, I wasn't wrong. It does do that. But my degree of resentment has decreased greatly. Part of that is due to age and maturity. But there is another really good reason for it.

According to the Texas State Historical Association, "The National Women's Conference of November 18-21, 1977, held in Houston, was the first meeting of its type in the United States since the Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. It provided an opportunity to evaluate and make recommendations on the role of women in this country through a discussion of specific issues and ideas. (

So what, you ask? The connection here is of great importance. It Happened One Christmas was released in 1977. That was the same year that the National Women's Conference was held in Houston, TX. The last time the National Women's Conference was held prior to that was in 1848, in Seneca Falls, NY. That was 129 years prior.

Not only that, but it was held in Seneca Falls, NY, which was the town that was the inspiration for Bedford Falls. Check out The Real Bedford Falls at Learn more about the movement and the historical locations found in Seneca Falls here:

I find that to be more than just a coincidence.

Learn more about It Happened One Christmas here:

This film is not available on DVD. But you can watch it on YouTube (for right now) at the links below. I did not post them. I searched for and found them, and simply provide the links below.

It Happened One Christmas Part 1

It Happened One Christmas Part 2

It Happened One Christmas Part 3

It Happened One Christmas Part 4

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