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|Index||47 reviews in total|
Frank Capra's It's a wonderful life stands on it's own as a classic
film with a timeless message.
Marlo Thomas whom I have never seen before, turns in a superb and dedicated performance in James Stewart's role.
This movie reverses the original roles taken by Donna Reed and James Stewart.
This movie does not have the warmth of the original, or the characterization of the original.
It is solely the acting of Mario Thomas that makes this version stand out on it's own.
I first saw this on TV in the late 1970s. My family and I were curious as to how Marlo Thomas and troupe would handle a genuine film classic. The title of my summary says it all: "Well intended but misfired." All that is different is the gender reversal. Otherwise, it's the same basic story as the movie...same plot line, same characters, same situations, etc. It's hard to knock a nice lady like Marlo Thomas who was so good as "That Girl" and as a feminist actress and activist or a lady like Cloris Leachman who just keeps getting better with age but the story just seems to work better with James Stewart, Donna Reed, etc. ...the reworking just doesn't seem to cut it. Leonard Maltin gave this a lukewarm review in his book of movie reviews saying it was "earnestly made." I would agree saying (again) it was well-intended but ultimately misfired. Everybody seemed to want to do well with the material but it just didn't come through.
I was 11 when it came out and looked for it on television every year since. I thought it was a nice twist on the original and more up-to-date. If you like one, you'll like the other.. If you didn't like the Jimmy Stewart version, you prob will not like this one either
This was the first version I saw of this story back in the 70's as well, but I got to see the classic Jimmy Stewart version in the 80's and THAT is the ultimate version. The acting in this TV version is just horrible, all the actors walk through the scenes like it was a high school play and the emotion and passion of the original is wiped away. Horrible! Jimmy Stewart gave the best acting perhaps ever in It's a Wonderful Life and never got enough credit since he made it seem so effortless. One thing that amused me in this version watching it again tonight was seeing a young Christopher Guest as Harry Bailey. Who knew???
Sure, they remade King Kong and it stank (except for John Barry and Rick Baker's work). They tried to re-work Gone With the Wind and it was putrid. But it took Marlo Thomas to turn one of the most beloved films of all time and into something that smells worse than all the other remakes put together. How did she accomplish this? First, she liberalized it, putting herself in the Jimmy Stewart role. This in and of itself was not a crime to humanity, but MT's acting in this role was (and she WAS cute in That Girl). Then she sucked all of the humor out of the story. No humor? Might as well chuck the simmering sensuality and romance between the two leads. Done! And while MT's at it, she waters down the religious aspect until nothing's left but flavorless gruel (perhaps this was underwritten by the ACLU). Really, I can't say enough bad things about this celluoid stain. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It Happened One Christmas is a lovely rendition of an old time classic movie called It's A Wonderful Life. I love this movie and I love It's A Wonderful Life too. I am in love with Christmas movies period.Marlo Thomas was sweet in the role of Mary Bailey. Wayne Rogers was effective in the role that he played opposite Marlo Thomas. Of course what can I say Orson Welles is a master.I though that Cloris Leachman was interesting as well. It was an unusual part for her to play. I am a big fan of all of the actors in this movie.I thought the setting and the costumes were good too. This version had a totally different feel than It's A Wonderful Life did.That is what is so nice,both movies were good in their own way.I taped this movie in 2006 from Ion TV and I was pleased with a nice clear print.I don't mind the commercials. I have a very old print from many years ago that has no footage cut, but the picture is not very good on DVD.The picture is not bad on VHS tape.I highly recommend this movie to Christmas movie lovers.
I thought this was one of the best re-makes I have ever seen. I watch this faithfully each holiday season, it wouldn't be Christmas without it. I have almost worn out the VHS tape that I originally taped this on. Just found it on DVD through E-Bay and ordered it, hope it's good quality. I thought Marlo Thomas played her role beautifully. To me this is as much of a classic as the original movie. It really brings home the good old fashioned values in life and brings back great memories of when I grew up. Don't get me wrong, I think the original version is a great classic, but if I had to choose I would rather watch the re-make with Marlo Thomas and all the other great actors and actresses.
I first saw this movie in 1977. I was very moved by it, and felt that
it was better than the original. I loved the first one, but i thought
this movie with Marlo Thomas had more heart. I still watch it every
Christmas Eve. My own tradition.
I have shown this to many of my friends and told them to view it with open minds, and 35 out of 48 liked it better as well. They have now gone to making my tradition their tradition as well.
I know Marlo is not Jimmy Stewart, but watch it with the twist, and I feel that you will like it just as much. There are subtle nuances that I feel were not in the original. I feel that it was more moving for a mother to leave her children on Christmas Eve.
I enjoyed this movie from the first time I saw it, through the last, which
was a few years ago. I would look forward to it every Christmas, and have
not been able to see it because no one is airing it. I have been trying to
locate it on video with no luck.... If anyone knows where I can get a copy,
let me know...
We can all understand just why the practice of remaking certain movies
was and will always be a common practice in Hollywood. During this time
of year (December) we are treated to at least 6 o 8 different versions
of Charles Dickens' A Christmas CAROL.
We can view as many version of this Dickens Classic as there items on a Chinese Restaurants Menu. Among other actors in the role, we have: Allastair Sim 1951 & 71, George C. Scott 1984, Patrick Stewart 1999, Kelsey Grammar 2004, Reginald Owen 1938 and Seymour Hicks 1935. Additionally from time to time we see special variety character productions, such as: MR. MAGOO's Christmas CAROL (UPA/NBC 1962), MICKEY's Christmas CAROL (Disney 1983) and THE MUPPET's Christmas CAROL (1992). And there are many others.
One can well understand all of this interest in doing, re-doing and re-re-doing a work of true classic literature, like the Dickens story. And being so widely known all around the World, ever since its being published December 19, 1843 in London, gives it a second reason. And being that the work is in public domain for some time and required no securing of screen rights, nor payment of any royalties, makes the best argument So brings us down to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) and this IT HAPPENED ONE Christmas (1977). And we have only one question to ask of Universal Television and the American Broadcasting Company; WHY??
A remake or even a rework is fair game. A remake being an all the way re-doing a story, like The 3 Musketeers, Last of the Mohicans or Moby Dick. A re-working is an act of taking certain the elements of the story to use in an otherwise storyline. This practice is quite common in the comedy field, especially the old short subjects. Take for example the following.
We have 3 different Hal Roach Studios' Laurel & Hardy Short Subjects. First we have ANGORA LOVE (silent, 2 reeler, 1929), next LAUGHING GRAVY (sound, 2 reeler, 1931) and THE CHIMP (sound, 3 reeler, 1932). Each is a story in a different setting, with a different set of circumstances. And yet, all films take a certain set of circumstances central to the plot line and crucial to the exercise of our funny bones. The re-worked bit of business is the Boys having to hide an animal of theirs from their Landlord. The animal progressively and chronologically changes from a Goat, to a Little Pet Dog and finally to a Chimpanzee.
So, just what is IT HAPPENED ONE Christmas? Would it be a remake? Or, how many vote for a re-work? Could it be "Neither of the Above"? Come on now, don't be shy, cast your vote.
All of you who voted for "Neither of the Above", go to the head of the class and get a Gold Star. The correct answer is that it is NEITHER! It's a plain and simple case of Plagiarism! Oh, they surely secured the rights to do the thing, but Lordy, it's a virtual Carbon-copy of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
But, enough of this foolishness. It's time to get down to reviewing the Story, without our giving away too much. So .
OUR STORY There is no original Story here. Just go and see IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE's page. Then, after changing George and Mary's Surnames and their family positions you'll have the idea. Right family roles get switched. That makes Mary Bailey Hatch (Marlo Thomas) the Breadwinner and George Hatch (Wayne Rogers) as a 1940's Mr. Mom.
And please, don't think that there wasn't a solid effort put out here by the former Documentary Film Oscar Nominee Director, Donald Wrye and his Crew. And an energetic community performance by the cast. As well as Miss Marlo Thomas and Mr. Wayne Rogers, the cast included: Orson Welles, Doris Roberts, Cloris Leachman, Barney Martin, Karen Carlson, Dick O'Neil, Cliff Norton and even Orson Welles.
Didja say Orson Welles? Hey, that gives me an idea for a new Made For TV Movie of the Week Special. We could "re-do" CITIZEN KANE (RKO 1941) as an "updated" TV Production. We could call it "WHERE'S ROSEBUD?"
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