It's a Wonderful Life [Blu-ray]
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It's a Wonderful Life
Now perhaps the most beloved American film, It's a Wonderful Life was largely forgotten for years, due to a copyright quirk. Only in the late 1970s did it find its audience through repeated TV showings. Frank Capra's masterwork deserves its status as a feel-good communal event, but it is also one of the most fascinating films in the American cinema, a multilayered work of Dickensian density. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. A heavenly messenger (Henry Travers) arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born. The sequence is a vivid depiction of the American Dream gone bad, and probably the wildest thing Capra ever shot (the director's optimistic vision may have darkened during his experiences making military films in World War II). Capra's triumph is to acknowledge the difficulties and disappointments of life, while affirming--in the teary-eyed final reel--his cherished values of friendship and individual achievement. It's a Wonderful Life was not a big hit on its initial release, and it won no Oscars (Capra and Stewart were nominated); but it continues to weave a special magic. --Robert Horton
Top Customer Reviews
* All other special extras, i.e., the 1990 standard definition "The Making of 'It's A Wonderful Life'" featurette hosted by Tom Bosley - and a re-release theatrical trailer now rendered in high definition (but not cleaned) - have been carried over to the 2009 two-disc Blu-ray.Read more ›
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 ...Read more ›
As I was growing up this film was shown repeatedly on television as it had lapsed into the public domain. Somehow, it was retrieved from public domain with some legal wrangling - and though at first I thought of that as a bad thing the quality of the film has benefited now that there is money to be made on this old classic. The initial DVDs available for this film from the public domain era were very poor quality and only recently were better scans completed. That process has been taken to "the nth degree" for the blu-ray release.
For this review I did watch the first few minutes of the Republic Pictures DVD version which last time I checked into this was the best transfer available. I recall when first seeing it that it was far superior to other versions and light-years ahead of the worn prints that used to be shown on TV. I played it on an upscaling player (actually my Sony Blu-Ray player). I then put in the Blu-Ray version and I was blown away at the improvement. The quality is really striking with facial detail and readable text, for example, on the bottles in Mr. Gower's Pharmacy. The print is totally clean and is as others have pointed out shown in the correct aspect ratio in which it was made. This means there are black bars at the sides on a wide-screen TV and this is normal and how it should be. To fill a wide screen TV would mean either stretching things so that the thin James Stewart starts to look more like Alfred Hitchcock or cutting off the top and bottom of the picture.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
another Christmas story that I have watched all my life. They don't make movie with this kind of teachings and impact anymore and I don't know why. Read morePublished 6 days ago by WILD BILL
a true classic, watch it every xmas and whenever i'm deeply discouraged and it does the trickPublished 8 days ago by c
Simply the best Christmas movie in history. I watch it every year, and was so glad to find it on DVD when VHS went away. Read morePublished 17 days ago by bunso
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