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The It's a Wonderful Life Book Paperback – October 12, 1986

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The exhaustive creative process needed to produce this classic movie fantasy is chronicled in detail by film historian Basinger. Basinger has done an excellent job of sorting through the publicity and legends that surround the film. She lets the reader in on the working and reworking of the script, cast selection, legal stumbling blocks and censorship problems, and many creative and technical challenges. Using the Frank Capra Archives, her well-written, readable text is brimming with materials and memorabilia, including the complete final script, reviews, work schedules, etc. New interviews by Leonard Maltin with James Stewart and cinematographer Joseph Biroc provide an up-to-date perspective. One flaw is the lack of an index. This enjoyable book is for movie fans and especially for devotees of Capra, Stewart, and the film itself. Recommended for public libraries. Arthur Bargar, Milford P.L., Ct.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Tells the entire story of the film's production and presents us with an extraordinary wealth of original material. More than 200 photos.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (October 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394747194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394747194
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Could it be possible that a book written about the most inspirational American film of all time do justice to it? The answer is a resounding "YES!". Jeanine Basinger's "The It's a Wonderful Life Book" is the ultimate tribute to the film that Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra and millions of people all over the world call their favorite of all time.
Diving into the archives of Frank Capra to tell the evolution of the movie from cradle to grave (though it will never die!), Ms. Basinger manages to tell the story with such sincerety, fascination and charm that you get the feeling that everything surrounding the movie was just as wonderful as the final product! Best of all, the details of the making of the movie are so vivid that you almost start to feel that YOU WERE THERE!
The first thing you realize as you read the story of IAWL is that is was a really big movie from the gitgo. That is, Mr. Capra had high aspirations for it and did EVERYTHING in his power to make it his greatest and lasting achievement (little argument here) and that Hollywood was watching.
Fans may know that the story started as a Christmas card called "The Greatest Gift" which finally found its way into Mr. Capra's hands where, after many writes and re-writes into a script, got the Capra touch transforming it into his baby. Then casting began with each actor painstakingly chosen to be the perfect person for each particular character.
Anecdotes abound, starting with Capra's embarrassingly jumbled explanation of the storyline while recruiting Stewart. (Fortunately, all Jimmy needed to hear was that Frank wanted him.) Then we hear the one about Stewart's shattered confidence in acting which is restored when Lionel Barrymore pulls him aside for a peptalk.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. Van Vorhis on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jeanine Basinger has put together the definitive collection of primary source information available about "It's a Wonderful Life."
Anybody who considers him or herself a "Lifer" (a fan of the movie, usually an extreme fan such as myself) needs to purchase this book.
Almost everything you want to know is in here, from the original story the film was based on to interviews with Stewart, an introduction by Capra, pictures galore, the final script, script revisions, notes about suggested censorship, and much, much more.
There is even information in here you wouldn't even think about asking. An example is the name of the "stars in charge." One is named Joseph. What is the name of the other galxy (Hint: The answer isn't God).
I often get e-mails asking me questions about the film. If I don't have the answer, this is the first book I pick up. Of the many times I've been asked questions, I have always found the answer in this book.
This is the ultimate IAWL reference.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By skipphoto on January 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this to replace a copy I lent to someone and never got it back. I'm just old enough to have forgotten who. You can read the script right along as you watch the movie. This by far the best book I have ever seen on this movie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Hamilton on January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would like a book like this for a favorite movie of mine. My friend loves "It's a Wonderful Life" but she really isn't what you would call a "movie buff" like I am. Even so, she is loving this book. It can be an easy reminder of all the scenes and dialogue that contribute to making this her favorite holiday movie. If you are a movie buff then it would be even more enjoyable!!
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By Joseph on December 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
AAA+++
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