Monday, February 29, 2016

The Fallacy of It's a Wonderful Life

Have you ever heard the phrase "if it's too good to be true it probably is"? It turns out that the same idea may be applied to It's a Wonderful Life. And it was done in the name of publicity.

Several nationwide newspaper articles recalling interesting stories about the making of It’s a Wonderful Life were published prior to the film’s release to spark interest in the public. One of these stories was about the party held at the Bailey house to celebrate Harry’s homecoming and wedding.

In the scene, an intoxicated Uncle Billy walks away from the party singing “My Wild Irish Rose” (The lyrics for the song can be found at the end of this section). From off-screen, we hear what sounds like Uncle Billy walking full-force into a number of trash cans and knocking them over. Uncle Billy yells, “I’m alright, I’m alright!” News accounts from the set claim that as the scene was being filmed, a dozing electrician accidentally knocked over a stack of props, which sounded like trash cans being knocked over. The electrician expected to be fired, but Capra was so happy with the accidental result that he gave the electrician a ten dollar bonus for “improving sound and characterization.” This story appeared the following day in newspapers around the country, including the July 19, 1946 issue of the Toledo, Ohio Blade (Basinger 31).

There is debate about whether this story is true:

“Whether this really happened or simply was the product of a publicist’s imagination, it helped to keep people thinking about Frank Capra’s new film” (Basinger 31).

In her book, Basinger also allows that readers may find contradictory information in other texts about the film: “Other archives, other files, may contain contradictory material; like all the great Hollywood films, It’s a Wonderful Life is surrounded by press agentry and planted stories as well as by legendary tales that embellish the facts” (Basinger x).

One of these contradictory stories concerns what may be the most famous scene in the film. The phone scene, in which George and Mary realize their love for each other, carries with it a legendary story that has manifested into the truth. Several sources indicate that the scene was filmed in one take. In an interview, Jimmy Stewart said, “we did that scene. . .in one great, unrehearsed take’’ (Basinger 84). Even the "Making of It’s a Wonderful Life" segment on the 50th anniversary release of the film indicates that it was shot in one take. According to Tom Bosley, who narrates the segment, when the scene was shot, Capra was very excited about the result. However, the script girl said that Stewart and Donna Reed, who played Mary (Hatch) Bailey, had missed a whole page of dialogue. To this, Capra reportedly replied, “With technique like that, who needs dialogue! Print it!”

Here it is in the movie trailer. The portion in question begins around 1:20, if you don't want to watch the entire trailer:

It should be noted, however, that this scene was, in fact not filmed in one take. In the film, George says, “I want to do what I want to do,” placing emphasis on the second “I.” However, the film’s trailer depicts the same scene, in which George states “I want to do what I want to do,” placing emphasis on the repeated word “do.” The stress on words is different, the words muttered before the statement are muttered differently, and the camera angle is completely different.

While the first take may have been used in the film, there is no documentation of that. However, the scene could not have been shot in one take as many sources, including Stewart himself, have claimed.

Even Capra’s claims about very early work on both Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life, have come under scrutiny.

Journalist and author Jonathan Coe questions Capra’s report of his own actions upon reading the script for It’s a Wonderful Life, (still under the title The Greatest Gift at the time) which Capra described as “the story I had been looking for all my life.” Coe, who comes down hard on Capra throughout his book, comments parenthetically of Capra’s recollection, “(again, if his own account of events is to be believed)” (Coe 79).


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.

Coe, Jonathan. Jimmy Stewart: A Wonderful Life. New York: Arcade Publishing, 1994.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Photo Friday - Bells Part 43

Welcome to Photo Friday. Here, I one or more photos related it to It's a Wonderful Life.

This week's Photo Friday features the Pemberville United Methodist Church bell in Pemberville, OH.  It's really hard to see, but it's in there.

These photos were taken March 15, 2015.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Collection Part 11 - The Bedford Falls Sentinel

Source: Blogger's collection
I have a huge collection of It's a Wonderful Life-related stuff. Some of the connections are obvious. Other connections have to be explained.

This is one of the easy connections, but not everyone has seen this.

Here are two issues of The Bedford Falls Sentinel, which were published in the mid-1990s. The Bedford Falls Sentinel was a newsletter/sales pitch that was part of Target's It's a Wonderful Life village pieces. Once you registered a building, you began receiving these newsletters.

As an added bonus for registering your buildings, this newsletter included an order form for special order-only bonus pieces that were not available in stores. Three of the pieces I ordered special through the newsletters were a Christmas tree-shaped bell, a flag pole, and a Civil War soldier statue. I'll post photos of those at a later date.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My Collection Part 10 - The National Geographic magazine

In my family, the scene shown above is one of the most commonly quoted segments of It's a Wonderful Life. In the scene, a young George Bailey and Mary Hatch talk about coconuts, Tahiti, the Fiji Islands, and the Coral Sea. For years, I have been trying to figure out which edition George shows Mary. On Feb. 12, 2016, I found out, and on Feb. 18, 2016, my own copy arrived in the mail.

Here it is:

My knowledge came from a discussion with uber-collector Richard Goodson on Feb. 12. During that discussion through the Facebook messaging app, Goodson told me, "I have a friend who is a retired movie producer. He is a professor of film studies in Bloomington, IL, and he bought a crazy computer program that snaps 1000 pics a minute and then allows you to manipulate the photo."

Goodson then forwarded me his producer-friend's message to Goodson, which helped identify the October, 1919 issue as the correct issue. Goodson's producer friend wrote, "Well my friend, you are correct. It is the October 1919 issue. There are two tells even though the images are not clear on the front of the magazine. The first two stories begin with a single letter like "A" or "I." I went through 20 years of the magazine starting in the 1930s through 1946 which is when the movie was made and couldn't find a single one with a first single letter. The bigger confirmation is when he turns the magazine over. There is an ad for Gold Medal Flour. It is the exact same as the one in the film. When Mary gives the magazine back to him, you can see the ad clearly."

For me, this is not ultimate proof, because there is still a question of the single-letter articles from the time National Geographic was first published in October 1888 to whatever date the producer friend looked at into the 1930s. I would be more confident if he had checked through all of the issues from 1910 through 1946. But having said that, I'm glad I got this edition. And as the last photo above shows, there is an article about the South Seas.

If you are thinking about finding yourself a copy, please be aware that on the next page after the last photo above, there is nudity. There is actually a lot of nudity throughout this edition of the magazine, so be aware of that before you buy it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Photo Friday - Bells Part 42

Welcome to Photo Friday. Here, I one or more photos related it to It's a Wonderful Life.

This week's Photo Friday features the dinner bell at Portage Holiness Camp in Portage, OH.

Check out the bell below and learn more about the camp here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Movie Review - Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

In my movie reviews, I give my brief thoughts on what I watched. Sometimes I will expound on those thoughts, but more often than not, I will just give a brief opinion. You can read plot descriptions on Internet Movie Database or on Amazon.

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Starring Jimmy Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Fabian, Laurie Peters. 1962.

If It's a Wonderful Life has a sequel, then that sequel is Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.

During his career, Stewart played the main characters in three “Mr.” films. The first was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and the second was Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), which is about the changing family dynamic as children grow up. In the third, Mr. Krueger’s Christmas (1988), Stewart plays a lonely janitor who finds the true meaning of Christmas.

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is full of references to It’s a Wonderful Life. There are so many of these references, that the film is almost an homage to the classic, or a sequel that looks at the question, “what happened next to the Bailey family?” While the film concerns the Hobbs family, and not the Baileys, the connections are still there.

Mr. Hobbs and George Bailey both have daughters named Janie. Another daughter is named Suzie. While not an exact match, the similarity to the name Zuzu is close enough to make one pause to consider the connection.

The Hobbs family vacations together at a beach house during a trip that Mrs. Hobbs (Maureen O’Hara) calls the “chance of a lifetime,” echoing Sam Wainwright’s claim about the job he offers George in It’s a Wonderful Life. However, they find that the beach house is not as nice as they expected it to be. In fact, the Hobbs family finds a house that is dirty, run-down, and appears to be haunted, reminiscent of the Granville House after the graduation dance at the high school.

The house even has a mansard roof and a troublesome newel post, which served in It’s a Wonderful Life as both a tool to break the tension of several scenes, and as a symbol of George Bailey’s growing frustration. In Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, the newel post is a light-hearted tribute to the older film. The joke is extended when Mr. Hobbs attempts to climb the stairs and one of the steps breaks.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, just before Sam Wainwright offers George the job, Sam tells him of an idea for a factory that he wants to build in Rochester, New York. In Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Mr. Hobbs tells his down-on-his-luck, unemployed son-in-law to look for a job in Rochester.

During a social event at a yacht club, Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs become concerned about their youngest daughter Katey (Lauri Peters). Mr. Hobbs becomes so concerned that his wife becomes worried about him. He tells her, “Don’t worry. I’m not gonna’ jump.” This is a reference George Bailey’s perceived solution to his funding shortage problem in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Mr. Hobbs remedies his daughter’s problems by hiring a dance partner for her. It is a move that causes his wife to berate him for “giving $5 to some guy you don’t know from Adam.” The statement echoes Nick, the bartender at Martini’s bar during the Pottersville sequence, who says he doesn’t know George “from Adam’s off ox.”

Mr. Hobbs goes bird watching with a visitor to the summer home. Every time he sees a bird, he asks what kind it is, only to learn that it is always the same species. Every time he sees the bird, thinking it is a new species, he comments, “well, what do you know about that,” which is one of George Bailey’s favorite phrases.

Mr. Hobbs is more cynical than George Bailey, but the children are older. He looks through travel brochures for the Caribbean, France, Britain, and Hawaii. This reminds one of the travel brochures George Bailey carries with him.

In a connection that hits closer to real life, Mr. Hobbs refers to being buried in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery. In real life, Stewart is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Los Angeles, CA. There is a real Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, CA.

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Movie Review - The Greatest Show on Earth

In my movie reviews, I give my brief thoughts on what I watched. Sometimes I will expound on those thoughts, but more often than not, I will just give a brief opinion. You can read plot descriptions on Internet Movie Database or on Amazon.

The Greatest Show on Earth, starring Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, and Gloria Graham. 1952.

This film is about masks. Masks and hiding. Masks and hiding and trust. Masks and hiding and trust and coming to your own conclusions. Not necessarily in that order.

In the film, Jimmy Stewart plays a man on the run. He always stays in character and he always stays in face paint. The movie really is not about Stewart's character. Instead, it is about the cooperation and family relationships that are built in the circus. Stewart is the illustration of this cooperation and dedication.

As an added bonus, Gloria Graham is in it.

4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Photo Friday - Bells Part 41

Welcome to Photo Friday. Here, I one or more photos related it to It's a Wonderful Life.

This week's Photo Friday features a rainbow-colored Christmas tree decoration that I have had since I was about 10 years old. It has gone on my tree every ear. I think I got it in Gatlinburg, TN, or at Greenfield Village in Michigan. I'm not sure.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Movie Review - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

In my movie reviews, I give my brief thoughts on what I watched. Sometimes I will expound on those thoughts, but more often than not, I will just give a brief opinion. You can read plot descriptions on Internet Movie Database or on Amazon.

Jefferson Smith is the head of the Boy Rangers, a thinly-veiled revision of Cub Scouts.

This is a classic "little guy" film.

Stewart's performance is tops. It's a very emotional experience to watch him fall apart during the culmination of the film.

And of course, Beulah Bondi plays his mother. Again. And they sing "Auld Lang Syne". Again. And the same actors appear. Again, including Thomas Mitchell. And H.B. Warner. And Bondi. And those are only actors from It's a Wonderful Life. That doesn't take into consideration actors from other Capra and Capra/Stewart films.

Watch the trailer here:

This film is amazing, and my second-favorite Stewart film. And my second-favorite Capra film, too.

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Movie Review - You Can't Take it With You

Frank Capra and James Stewart worked together on three film projects: You Can’t Take it With You (1938); Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939); and It’s a Wonderful Life (1947).

In You Can’t Take it With You, which was Capra’s and Stewart’s first film in the “trilogy,” Capra began examining the idea of the happiness money brings — or fails to bring — to an individual, and by extension, to his family. The main struggle in the film is between the happy-go-lucky Vanderhof family and the Kirby clan. The Kirbys want to purchase and raze the Vanderhof home, along with other surrounding homes, in order to build build a munitions factory.

Early in the film, one of the main characters, Grandpa Vanderhof, portrayed by Lionel Barrymore, talks about “Ism-mania.” Here, we begin to see Capra’s feelings toward America, its government, and its people through Grandpa Vanderhof: “Communism, Fascism, voodooism. Everybody’s got an ‘ism’ these days. When things go a little bad nowadays, you go out and get yourself an ism and you’re in business.”

His daughter, Penny, wonders aloud if the character in the book she is writing should have an “ism.” Grandpa Vanderhof responds to her idea: “Give her Americanism. Let her know something about Americans: John Paul Jones, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Edison, Mark Twain. When things got tough for those boys, they didn’t run around looking for ‘isms.’ Lincoln said, ‘with malice toward none and charity to all.’ Nowadays, they say ‘think the way I do or we’ll bomb the daylights out of you.’”

Listen to the exchange here:

Already in You Can’t Take it With You, we see not only Capra’s strong American sentiment, but also a strong aversion to aggression by the strong against the weak. Capra also establishes his overarching “umbrella” theme for all three films (You Can't Take it With You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life)  by quoting Lincoln. Boiled down, this theme is Biblical in nature: “love thy neighbor.”

Another repeating Capra/Stewart theme we see for the first time in You Can’t Take it With You is the value of friendship. The Vanderhof family has many friends throughout the community. They are disarming and charming, and we are able to see that through Mr. DiPinna (Halliwell Hobbes) and Mr. Poppins (Donald Meek), who are brought into the family first as visitors intrigued with the Vanderhof family’s philosophy for life. These characters never leave, but instead become part of the extended Vanderhof/Sycamore family.

This idea of following dreams is combined with the idea of capitalism within You Can’t Take it With You. Grandpa Vanderhof at one time had a good-paying job, but quit because he was not having fun doing it. Instead, he decided to spend his time collecting stamps and attending graduation ceremonies. He made his living as a stamp appraiser and taught his family to follow their dreams — to do what they enjoy doing — regardless of whether or not it is profitable. This echoes what George told Mary during the phone scene in It’s a Wonderful Life, when he said, “I want to do what I want to do.”

Money is not important to the Vanderhof/Sycamore family. Instead, they focus on family, community and the freedom of self-expression. Grandpa Vanderhof does not even care about birthdays and does not believe in paying taxes. Instead, he lives in the moment, filling his time with whatever activity happens to interest him at that exact moment.

We also are able to see the importance of friends on several occasions throughout the course of the film. During his trips to town, Grandpa Vanderhof is stopped on the street many times by a person or a group of people who want to talk to him. Often, they are looking for advice, or hoping he will provide a calming word when they are worried. Like many of the residents of Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life, Grandpa Vanderhof’s neighbors are renters who are subjected to the whims and decisions of their landlords. Grandpa Vanderhof and George Bailey serve the same role in their respective films: The residents in their town turn to them for guidance and help when their lifestyle is threatened. The irony is that Barrymore played both the calming Grandpa Vanderhof and the Scrooge-like Mr. Potter, who was harming the renters of Bedford Falls.

The importance of friends is further illustrate after the granddaughter, Alice Sycamore, leaves home, humiliated after a failed courtship with carefree mogul/heir-apparent Tony Kirby (James Stewart). The family decides to move closer to her, and enlists the aid of their friends, who help them pack their lives, memories and belongings. 

In another scene, the Vanderhof family has to go to court, where they face several charges, including manufacturing fireworks. Their friends fill the courthouse in order to show their support. “I didn’t know anybody had that many friends anymore,” a judge says to a crowded courtroom. Later in this scene, those friends pool their money to pay the Vanderhof family’s fine. It is a variation of the final scene in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Friendship and self-expression are key themes in You Can’t Take it With You. They are two of the tools Grandpa Vanderhof uses to rally against the monopolistic capitalism of Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold). While in jail facing the fireworks charge, the Vanderhof men and the rest of the inmates show that they can make the best of bad circumstances as they sing and dance in the jail cell. Mr. Kirby, on the other hand, sits alone and sulks.

At one point during their jail stay, Grandpa Vanderhof tries to convince the senior Kirby to enjoy life instead of concentrating on making money: “You can’t take it with you, Mr. Kirby. So what good is it? As near as I can see, the only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends.”

When the elder Kirby begins berating the criminals in the cell, Grandpa Vanderhof makes a surprisingly vehement speech that is out of character for him, considering his outlook toward life. The speech, in fact, is almost a re-write of what the ghost of Marley tells Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. However, speech still reflects Grandpa Vanderhof's moral values, illustrating that anger and morality can co-exist:

What makes you think you are such a superior human being?
Your money? If you do, you’re a dull-witted fool, Mr. Kirby, 
and a poor one at that. Poorer than any of these people that 
you call scum because I’ll guarantee at least they’ve got some 
friends, but you with your jungle and your long claws as you 
call them, you’ll wind up your miserable existence without 
anything you can call a friend. You may be a high mogul to 
yourself, Mr. Kirby, but to me you’re a failure. Failure as a 
man. Failure as a human being. Even a failure as a father. 
When your time comes, I doubt if a single tear will be shed 
over you. The world will probably cry, ‘good riddance.’ 
That’s a nice prospect, Mr. Kirby. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I 
hope you’ll get some comfort out of all this coin you’ve 
been sweating over then!”

Mr. Kirby (left) and Grandpa Vanderhof (right, with crutches)
This scene contains irony: Stewart’s character, Tony Kirby is in jail as well, listening to this speech, given by an actor to whom Stewart’s character will make a similar speech in It’s a Wonderful Life. Instead of a jungle cat, Stewart’s George Bailey will call Barrymore’s Potter character a “scurvy little spider.”

Yet another theme set in celluloid that we will find repeating in Capra’s and Stewart’s films is the importance of family. When Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) moves away from home in shame, her previously happy family becomes gloomy. This is best illustrated by the dejected Grandpa Vanderhof, who used to cheerfully return home from his trips to town. After Alice leaves, his returns home are quiet and low-key. Capra emphasizes the family’s gloom with rainy weather. Even some leftover fireworks no longer provide their formerly cheerful explosions. As we will see in It’s a Wonderful Life, the theme that every person’s life touches so many other lives began its Capra/Stewart connection here.

After Alice leaves, she begins writing letters home. In the one letter that is read on screen, she writes, “Mrs. Kirby was right. I should have stayed in my own back yard.” While used in a different context – that she should have stayed in her middle-class setting instead of falling in love with a man from a higher class – her statement is the exact opposite of George Bailey’s dream to see the world. Although she left her hometown because she was ashamed, she failed to realize that running from her problems will not solve them. Capra must have realized this error, and attempted to fix it in It’s a Wonderful Life. Instead of running from his problems, George Bailey faces them head-on. As a result he is “trapped” in Bedford Falls. However, the trap is of his own making, and he eventually comes to realize that no matter where you are in life, you will always have problems. He also realizes that it is easier to face those problems when you are surrounded by family, and that life is as good as you choose to make it.

Although Alice comes to the wrong conclusion, her dedication to her family still shows in the letters, she writes daily. Previously in You Can’t Take it With You, Capra had explored the idea of angels, when Grandpa Vanderhof tells Alice that he will not sell the family home because he thinks it will be like moving out on Grandma Vanderhof. Angels are revisited in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Because of her letter, Grandpa Vanderhof decides to sell the house and leave the memory of his wife. He has always lived for the moment, and is continuing to do so. What has changed is that part of him had continued to live in the past, for the sake of the memory of his wife. Grandpa Vanderhof comes to understand the message of the speech he gave Anthony Kirby while they were in jail. His memory of his wife is one of the things he can take with him.

He realizes that what is more important is to experience life with his family who is living. It is part of living in the moment. Alice continues to have an effect on him, shown by his unhappiness, and they all continue to have an effect on her, as she tells in her letter. Grandpa Vanderhof decides that if they are going to have that effect on each other, they might as well do it in person. Family is so important that he even accepts a low offer of $25,000 for his house, even though he had previously declined an offer of $100,000.

In the final scene of You Can’t Take it With You, we see the importance of both family and friends. In this scene, Tony Kirby is reunited with his father. Alice has returned home, upset that Grandpa Vanderhof has decided to sell the family home. In true “Capracorn” style, Tony Kirby and Alice make up, and Anthony Kirby accepts her into the Kirby family, as friends dance around them while singing “Polly Wolly Doodle.”

The scene is reminiscent of the gathering of George Bailey’s family and friends at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, and “Polly Wolly Doodle” has the same effect as “Auld Lang Syne” has in the final scene of It’s a Wonderful Life, bringing all of the characters together as one large, extended family.

Throughout You Can’t Take it With You, a sign that reads “home sweet home” becomes a symbol. At the beginning of the film, the sign is constantly knocked off its hook by a variety of exploding fireworks. One family member or another dutifully hangs the sign back up every time it falls. When the family is packing to move, the sign gets knocked off its hook and Alice’s mother, Penny, begins to sob. The sign comes to symbolize the destruction and displacement of the family and the homestead. However, that family unit is reestablished and the sign is re-hung in its traditional location, never to move again…unless it is knocked down by more fireworks.

As we saw in You Can’t Take it With You, Grandpa Vanderhof's friends show up in court to support him and pay his family's bail. It is a scene we also see in It’s a Wonderful Life when the residents of Bedford Falls band together to raise money to save the Bailey Brothers Building and Loan, and to keep George out of prison.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Photo Friday - Bells Part 40

Welcome back to Photo Friday. Here, I post one or more photos each Friday. I will do my best to relate it to It's a Wonderful Life.

This week's entry is Zion United Methodist Church in Benton Ridge, Ohio. They were taken May 2, 2015.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra

I'm back. I'm sorry. It wasn't intentional. I have been ill. Perhaps one day, I will blog about my experience. For now, suffice it to say that migraine headaches suck and attempting to hunt down the cause and make them stop leads you to places you never knew you would go. I assure you that my passion for this film and dedication to this blog has not waned. I was just laid up in bed for a week. That's all. Now, two IV's, one spinal tap, a blood patch, and lots of Percocet, headaches and back pain later, I have returned.

In my book reviews, I give my brief thoughts on what I read. Sometimes I will expound on those thoughts, but more often than not, I will just give a brief opinion. I could go into detail about what the book is about, but a lot of people have already done that. You can read their descriptions of the book, plus the official description on Amazon.

Review of American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra by Ray Carney.

I have one confession to make: I didn't read this entire book. I only read about the films that impacted my research. Specifically, I read the portions about American Madness, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Meet John Doe, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, You Can't Take it With You, and It's a Wonderful Life.

The thing about this book is that the research and the insights are fantastic. There are considerations here that I have never thought of before. The problem is that there were several simple errors. For example, Carney:
  • Talks about Henry C. Potter (pg. 379). His name is actually Henry F. Potter.
  • Repeatedly refers to Violet Bicks (pg. 384 and many others). Her name is Violet Bick.
  • Repeatedly refers to one of the characters in American Madness as Dixon. (pg. 117). His name is spelled Dickson.
  • Misquotes George Bailey as saying "sounds of trains, anchor chains, and boat whistles" (pg. 422). George's actual quote is "anchor chains, plane motors, train whistles."
  • Incorrectly states that after the phone scene, there is a "following scene showing George and Mary leaving the church after their wedding." This is wrong. They may or may not have been married in a church. We have no proof of this. However, they leave the Bailey home, not a church, as they climb into Ernie's taxi. The proof is the picture of Annie the maid hanging below the steps as George and Mary run down them.
These missed facts do not take away from the scholarship and depth that this book goes into. The research and dedication to studying the facts of the films instead of the dreams and metaphors is admirable.

American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra is dense. It's thick and scholarly, and requires patience and a great degree of concentration. That being said, it is also required reading for fans of Capra and his films.