Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at ... See full summary »
Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt. His performers give him nothing but trouble, especially Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Meanwhile, Whipsnade's son ... See full summary »
Edward F. Cline
The secret is out. My favorite Christmas movie is now becoming a legend like "It's a Wonderful Life"
Yes, I dare to compare this wonderful, obscure little movie to It's A Wonderful Life!They came out a year a part and both were initially lost in obscurity. A Wonder Life was made at a big time studio (RKO), with a hallmark cast and a director that had several Oscars to his name already. It arose from the RKO vaults in the early 70's and has been shown every Christmas since then. This film actually fell out of copyright in 1976 and then as public domain, was picked up by Republic and put out on VHS about the time that Ted Turner bought the RKO Film Library from General Tire. It Happened on 5th Avenue was made a year (1947)later by a poverty row studio, Monogram (Allied Artists) with a shoe string budget and a venerable director by the name of Roy Del Ruth, from the silent screen days and actors that for the most part ( besides Victor Moore and Charles Ruggles and Ann Harding) had just started acting within a 5-6 year period. The plot was far from ingenious and the storyline was almost comical. What came out was a film that tugged at your heart strings with emotion and sentiment.It has my vote for the all time favorite Christmas film. I am lucky enough to have an original 16mm film copy and a VHS tape of the film. There were few negatives struck of the film for cost reasons so not many positives are in circulation today. I got mine from a TV studio film package I purchased in the early 70's from a Tampa Florida TV station. The copyright was never renewed as in It's a Wonderful Life so any prints out there are public domain. I would love to put out a DVD and let a new generation enjoy this little gem as much as mine has. Remember the line, A man without friends is the most serious form of poverty. That line was a great quote in the film and stands truer today than ever.
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