It Happened One Christmas (1977 TV Movie)
4/10
The Multiplex in Hell . . .
5 December 2019
Shows only remakes.

Spinning the dial (I'm showing my age) on Prime Video for a Christmas movie resulted in our watching the 1977 not-quite-perfectly-awful remake of Frank Capra's dreary and depressing It's a Wonderful Life.

Yes, I said it. I have never liked IAWL. The humor is strained, the Americana is post-WWII over-the-top, and Jimmy Stewart looks miserable, even when things are good.

Why, you ask, did I watch a remake of a movie I don't really like? Maybe boredom.

What I got was a pretty good performance out of Orson Welles. The guy had a voice that I thought was more profound than Morgan Freeman's or James Earl Jones'. Everyone else was either annoying, phony, or cardboard.

Trying to pass off a 40-year-old Marlo Thomas as a high school graduate or trying to explain why Thomas' eldest child, born in 1935-ish, looks like a real high schooler in 1943 is a bit beyond logic.

What the folks behind this turkey were trying to accomplish by tweaking and bending the Capra classic to fit a 3-hour time slot on ABC 40+ years ago is not apparent no matter how hard one tries. If it was modernizing the story by switching the main character's sex, would it not have made more sense finding an actress who could present a female version of Jimmy Stewart's everyman appeal? Marlo Thomas, all stick-angles and squeaky voice, never appealed to me. Wayne Rogers was professionally bland. Orson Welles sat there rumbling evil business psychology. Cloris Leachman made a crappy guardian angel.

The only thing that I found worth noting, worth watching, was the sets and props. Universal must have raided its voluminous inventory of props and toys, and the set design, for the most part, is the only saving grace with It Happened One Christmas.

Everything else, everyone else was just phoning it in.

I should have blocked the call.
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