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Customer Review

351 of 362 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is the Two-Disc Collector's Set of "It's A Wonderful Life" special? It has the best "color" hues to date!, December 13, 2008
This review is from: It's A Wonderful Life (Two-Disc Collector's Set) (DVD)
On November 4, 2006, I posted a review noting the side-by-side differences between the "60th Anniversary Edition of It's A Wonderful Life" - vs. all other editions of this film released on home video during the past 25 years. I still stand by that review.

The "Two-Disc Collector's Set" is a different product. While it contains the same 60th Anniversary DVD in pristine black-and-white - is ALSO includes a second DVD - a colorized version of "It's A Wonderful Life" that boasts the best color hues I've seen to date!

If you're like me -- and you prefer black-and-white films to stay black-and-white - fine. But I bought this 2-disc set because I was curious about how FAR digital image technology has come - since the controversial practice of colorizing black-and-white films began more than two decades ago. In short, the colorization here is spectacular.


DISC ONE -- There are NO differences between the first disc in this "Two-Disc Collector's Set" and the superbly restored black-and-white DVD released in 2006. Disc One is EXACTLY THE SAME as the 60th Anniversary Edition of "It's A Wonderful Life." It has the SAME special features, documentaries, trailers and improved subtitles. The three-to-four VERY MINOR digital sound pops that tekkies brought up in 2006 are still present - but as I wrote then - they WON'T be a big deal for most families watching a film like this made more than 60 years ago.


DISC TWO -- This disc has the same pristine movie in "COLOR." The results are stunning. Disc Two offers optional subtitles and NO extras - and NO digital sound pops!

In my 2006 review of the 60th Anniversary Edition, I noted why I kept a "colorized" version of "It's A Wonderful Life" on video tape (Republic Pictures Home Video, 1989). Most youngsters prefer color. As they get older, they come around to appreciating the artistry of black-and-white. But early on, they still find it "boring."

I recommend fans AND critics of colorization to at least "preview" how much has changed since those chalky crayon efforts of the 1980s. A high-tech company founded in 2001 called Legend Films, which specializes in restoring, colorizing and adding digital special effects - to NEW and OLD films - was commissioned to colorize "It's A Wonderful Life" for this "Two-Disc Collector's Set."

While the results don't match the color of today's live action films, they're still remarkable. Given the titanic advances in digital special effects since 1989, I shouldn't have been surprised. It isn't Technicolor, but the skin tones and background colors are more lifelike, enabling "It's A Wonderful Life" to JUMP off the screen like never before. It looks brighter, cleaner and more beautiful. You can almost smell Donna Reed's hair and see the panic in her brown eyes when James Stewart hovers over her when they're on the phone in the scene just before they get married.

Think of well-preserved color movies made during the 1940s or 1950s that weren't in Technicolor, but shot on different color film stock that's still beautiful today. That's what the new colorized version of "It's A Wonderful Life" looks like. It's "vintage" color, not "contemporary" color. And unless you're a technician who understands things like fading or shifting colors, you might not be able to tell the difference between what's original or colorized. Why? Because most of us are conditioned to expect LESS technical sophistication from films made in 1946 vs. 2006.


Yes, colorization does alter an artist's "original vision." But the technology behind it has improved tremendously in 20 years. What this means to the future of colorizing black-and-white films, including "untouchable" classics - is a subject for another day.

The solution for tekkies? Buy this "Two-Disc Collector's Set," put colorized Disc Two into your player and simply turn down the color on your TV! You'll now have the cleanest SOUND and PICTURE of "It's A Wonderful Life" ever - better than it was for audiences in 1946! Moreover, it'll be easier to get your kids to watch the colorized version - before "they graduate" to the black-and-white original. I hope this helps.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 18, 2008 3:43:07 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Dec 27, 2009 6:55:55 PM PST
Tuned In says:
Thanks for the additional post on the 2 disc version with both B&W and color. It's too bad Amazon mixes all the comments and reviews together for every single edition and release there is of the same movie. The 2 disc version was recently released on blu-ray. That's where I found these reviews. I'm hoping the blu-ray version is the best one ever produced of this classic.

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 9:01:58 PM PST
mdn61 says:
Director Frank Capra commented on the colorized version. He said he did not like it because it even made the evil Mr. Potter look rosy-cheeked and cheerful. Definitely NOT what he had in mind.

Posted on Sep 17, 2012 9:26:19 PM PDT
i have read this review over and over just wanted to know if the viewer who had two different saying the two disc collections is the one you say is the best?thank u ..Linda s.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 7:08:08 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 19, 2012 7:20:10 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 10:49:36 AM PST
Thank you Mr. Kusumoto for the time you took to analyze and post a detailed recommendation based on vast experience. Your review of the technical aspects of this release encouraged me to buy the set which I may not have done since the price represents an hour of my wages at my current job. I love this film, but like you prefer the B&W version although sometimes showing the color version to people who don't see the artistry in films as they were originally created is a fair option.

Posted on Jan 13, 2013 3:09:55 PM PST
R. Sage says:
I was a bit confused whether or not the 2 disc version has a colorized disc, because of Amazons lame reasoning to include reviews for all versions including BluRay together. I'm tempted to get this, because I love the movie and have watched it probably a dozen times and am curious to see it colorized.

Posted on Jan 8, 2014 10:55:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2014 8:10:09 PM PST
There are different versions of this film, in terms of language availability -
also sporting a red-green artwork on the cover... There is even a Korean
version - which is kind of odd, since Christmas is an invention of the West,
and not really a doctrine of Christianity... Santa Claus, for example, that
character, was invented one year by the Coca Cola Company - sporting
the red-white colour theme which has made Coca Cola so recognizeable...
In Europe, there was a Saint Nicholas (who probably still is, assuming he
did not fall asleep) who used to deliver packages to young families "starting
out"... Frankly, in this movie, the ritual with the bread and wine makes a lot
more sense... "Bread is for... and wine is for..." - cannot remember that
dialogue... Rituals, doctrine,... A kitsch version of Christianity - which begs
the question : What would a Pee Wee Herman Christmas Special look like?
In Korean? ... Well, I guess North Koreans (the communists) who wish to
better understand Western Culture, would find a Korean dubbed version of
'It's a Wonderful Life' very useful. But really, you wonder why Asians or
Africans do not attempt to find their own ways of creating Christian art, or
mode of self-expression rather than aping the commercial "jingle bell" version?
Maybe because the Christmas Season way helps retail industry, and economics,
or the "quest to make a buck" crosses borders in a way that difficult to understand
theological doctrine does not - given language barriers.

I recommend, Eve and the Firehose in its place, if you are looking for a Korean Christmas movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2014 8:33:03 PM PST
Star Bux says:
I think you mean, Eve and the FirehoRse.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2014 12:46:20 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 11, 2014 12:47:28 PM PST]
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