6.2/10
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47 user 2 critic

It Happened One Christmas (1977)

It's Christmas Eve 1944 in the small town of Bedford Falls, New York. A despondent and suicidal Mary Bailey Hatch is praying for guidance on what to do about an incident no fault of her own... See full summary »

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(based upon a story by), (written for television by)
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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mary Bailey Hatch
... Henry F. Potter
... George Hatch
... Clara
... Uncle Willie
... Violet
... Mr. Gower
... Ma Bailey
... Peter Bailey
Cliff Norton ... Martini
... Ernie
... Harry Bailey
... Sassini (as Gene Conforti)
... Bert
... Judge
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Storyline

It's Christmas Eve 1944 in the small town of Bedford Falls, New York. A despondent and suicidal Mary Bailey Hatch is praying for guidance on what to do about an incident no fault of her own which threatens her name and the community standing of her longtime family business, the Bailey Building and Loan, which she took over after the passing of her father. What Mary does not know is that most in town, including her husband George Hatch and their children, are also praying for her. All the prayers are heard by Joseph, God's gatekeeper of prayers. As there are no other angels available on such a busy day, Joseph assigns Clara Oddbody, angel second class (i.e. she has yet to receive her wings), to Mary's case, which he reluctantly does as Clara has never been assigned a case on her own in the two hundred years she's been in heaven for good reason. As Clara learns about Mary's case, she sees a selfless woman who always wanted to explore the world but never did, while others around her were... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

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Details

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Release Date:

11 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sucedió en Navidad  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Potter (Orson Welles) offers Mary (Marlo Thomas) a job, there is a misogynistic tone in his offering the box of cigars for her to take home to her husband even as he tries to wrest the Building and Loan from her. He also insinuates that once she has children she'll be unable to balance motherhood and business ownership, another plot point from the original that takes on new significance when spoken to a woman as opposed to a man in the traditional 'provider' role. See more »

Goofs

Mary (Marlo Thomas) refers to her family's Building and Loan as a savings and loan twice, once in the taxi in the in the "run on the bank" scene, and another time near the end in the "Merry Christmas Bedford Falls" scene. Other times in the film, she correctly refers to the company as the Building and Loan. Savings and loans did exist at the time period in which this film takes place. She just got the name wrong a couple of times. See more »

Connections

Version of Merry Christmas, George Bailey (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
If you like colorizing, you'll love this act of cultural vandalism
26 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

This gender-swap vanity project goes one enormous step beyond colorization, inserting the usually-likable Marlo Thomas in place of James Stewart, in one of the great American films. If the copyright on the original had not lapsed, this crime against film history could not have occurred. It is certainly lovingly produced, and well cast...aside from the misbegotten lead and some terrifying scenery-chewing by Cloris Leachman. That Ms. Thomas' perky performance isn't up to Stewart's legendary portrayal isn't even the worst part; as producer, that she would inject herself into such a story without radically rethinking it is very much the point.

As it is, the teleplay by Lionel Chetwynd (whose contributions include such thudding, on-the-nose rephrasings as "You're just a spider, and I'm glad I didn't fall into your scurvy little web") slavishly follows the original except when it would be ridiculous not to notice that its hero is now a woman. In those scenes, the writing calls to mind Samuel Johnson's famous critique, "Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good."

If you are one of the few who have not seen the original "It's a Wonderful Life", please do yourself a favor and watch it first...even if it is in black-and-white. Warning: If you do, you will not be able to endure this one.


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