- Paperback: 69 pages
- Publisher: Dramatic Pub Co (May 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 087129432X
- ISBN-13: 978-0871294326
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It's a Wonderful Life Paperback – May 1, 1994
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Top customer reviews
Would a faithful adaptation lack the moment where George realizes he's been brought back to life because his mouth is bleeding again? No...
We'll get to those in a second. First up, this version of the play starts off with George about to jump off the bridge and quickly moves into flashback scenes where Clarence shows him his past and how impactful he was. Is this A Christmas Carol? If I wanted to see A Christmas Carol, I would have bought tickets for that or bought that script. The children and community praying for George in the beginning does not happen and is not at all in the script. And as we all know, before George does get on the bridge, he is punched by Mr. Welch and his lip is bleeding. Yet in the beginning of the play Clarence remarks how George's lip is *not* bleeding. He hasn't wished he was never born yet, why is his lip not bleeding anymore? Makes zero sense.
Not to mention some blatant and poor character substitutions. George's honorable and upstanding father Peter Bailey is not seen...we don't get the scene where young George tells Potter off early on...and Peter Bailey's speech to George about the Building & Loan's positive impact on the community is delivered by Uncle Billy, and shared by a new mate for Uncle Billy, "Aunt Tilly", who has replaced the maid, Annie. So now we have no Peter Bailey and instead this unbelievable version of Uncle Billy, a character who we are supposed to believe will eventually lose $8K by literally just standing next to Potter, now giving George the ultimate pep-talk of where his life could lead him, and we have Harry hitting on his own Aunt instead of just getting a little feisty with the family's old maid. It's a very weird scene hearing a supposed drunk delivering to George a speech about what it means to have a positive and lasting impact on the community, and in turn the last conversation he would have had with his reputable father. And the Harry/Aunt Tilly part speaks for itself. I know I would never hit on my Aunt... The role of Peter Bailey and his powerful words to his son could have been quite the cameo for a seasoned older actor. And with some crafty character acting, maybe that actor could have also played Clarence... what an interesting parallel...or not, to each their own. But there was one purpose for Peter Bailey in the IAWL film: to show George and viewers what George didn't want to become but did become anyway, and one purpose for Uncle Billy: to be the loose screw in George's machine, the one that would almost ruin it all.
Now, let's talk Zuzu's petals and the bloody lip. This re-telling leaves out these two very personal elements that George relies on to tell him whether he's born or unborn: his bloody lip, i.e. "the ability to bleed and what makes us alive", and Zuzu's precious flower petals, which symbolize the innocence of his children and the fragility of life itself...and how to a child, a bad situation can just be "pasted", but as adults we know that life is a lot more complex than that, and that without divine intervention some things just can't be reversed. That's the whole essence of It's A Wonderful Life, and it's completely lost in this re-telling. Zuzu and George's tender scene is completely missing from the script, and when George's curse is set, Clarence doesn't point out that the petals are gone and when the curse is lifted George is not elated to find the petals! On the same token, George and Clarence can't talk about his lip not bleeding anymore and George can't remark to Bert that his mouth is bleeding again! Zuzu's petals and George's bloody lip were his "constants". They are gone. Why? What was the reason for that? Makes zero sense.
Who that truly loves IAWL enough to pen a staged version would make these tragic changes? It's a travesty and I'll never understand it.