3.21.2012

"No man is a failure who has friends."



Welcome to the Jimmy Stewart Edition of the Classic Movie Recap Series.  That line probably sums up Jimmy Stewart's life considering that he was as likable a fella as they come. Hope you enjoy these recaps of two of Jimmy's classics.



It's a Wonderful Life 
(Directed by Frank Capra, 1946)


Stewart plays George Bailey, a small town man who can't wait to get the heck outta there.  But, his father suffers a heart-attack and he's forced to take over the family business while his little brother goes off to college to live the dream.  But staying back in his hometown isn't all bad...after all, he meets and falls in love with the beauty of the town, Mary (Donna Reed).  She makes Stewart forget his immediate need to escape their small town, but one day, he remembers and snaps.  He cannot take the kids and their problems, their house that is in desperate need of repairs, and the rest of the mundane acts of everyday.  It is not until something terrible happens to him that he realizes that there is more to life than college and big cities and he discovers that "no man is a failure who has friends."  This is a great movie.  Jimmy Stewart is awesome.  Donna Reed, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful actresses of that time.  She deserves her own CMRS, so I'm working on that one.


Source and a fun trivia quiz for the film found here.

Next up...

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 
(Directed by Frank Capra, 1939)


Jimmy Stewart is just your everyday man.  He runs a youth boy's club and is extremely popular in his hometown.  When he is summoned to Washington to be appointed as a Senator (a position he did not campaign for or show any prior interest in) his world is turned upside down.  He begins serving as Senator only to find out that his "heroes," the leaders of Washington, are nothing but corrupted politicians.  He becomes the target of a political probe after one of the corrupted politicians he threatens to expose turns Congress against him.  He starts a fillibuster and eventually the truth comes out.  Meanwhile, his Secretary, (Jean Arthur) falls in love with him.  Duh.


Couple of interesting facts:  I noticed that the woman who played Stewart's mom (Beulah Bondi) here also played his mom in It's a Wonderful Life.  I looked it up and turns out she played his mom in 4 films total.  (I haven't been able to find out what the other two films were, so if anyone knows, that info would be greatly appreciated).  And, at the time that this film was produced and released, there was great controversy over the showing of the film due to the light in which it portrayed the US Government.  The film was banned in Nazi Germany and other crazy places. 




Source here.


By watching Jimmy Stewart act, even though he's playing a roll, you can tell that he's a good guy in real life.  And from reading his Wikipedia page, it is clear that is an understatement.  He was a philanthropist, a devoted husband (married for 45 years before his wife passed away), a war hero and a modest man.  

Stewart's military career was just as successful as his amazing acting career.  He was a skilled pilot, the first major movie star to wear a military uniform in WWII, and rose to the ranks of Brigadier General, which is above a colonel and below the major general.  Pretty awesome for a guy who was at first refused admittance to the Army because he couldn't make weight--he was too thin!  


And I love how Jimmy Stewart talks!  His voice is so awesome...and unique.  

I should mention that Alessandro thinks he is Jimmy Stewart.  (And that lack of modesty alone should be a hint to him that he's slightly off, ha!)  

UP NEXT:  Montgomery Clift Edition!  My favorite!

*Sources for first three photos found here, here and here.*

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