The It's a Wonderful Life Book

Overview

Using never-before-published material from the Frank Capra Archives at Wesleyan University, film historian Jeanine Basinger tells the full story of this American classic. We witness its beginnings as a little story printed on a Christmas card and then see how it defeated the attempts of many writers, including Clifford Odets, to translate it to the screen. (Both the original story and excerpts from the unproduced screenplays appear in this book, the latter for the first time anywhere.). We share Frank Capra's ...
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Overview

Using never-before-published material from the Frank Capra Archives at Wesleyan University, film historian Jeanine Basinger tells the full story of this American classic. We witness its beginnings as a little story printed on a Christmas card and then see how it defeated the attempts of many writers, including Clifford Odets, to translate it to the screen. (Both the original story and excerpts from the unproduced screenplays appear in this book, the latter for the first time anywhere.). We share Frank Capra's excitement as he discovers this little story and sees in its comedy and humanity the perfect material for his first postwar film. Still without a script, Capra persuades Jimmy Stewart to star as George Bailey, and then begins the long, obsessively detailed process of production. Through the wealth of notes, journals, and diaries that Basinger has assembled, we are able to observe the creative process of a master filmmaker in a way that has rarely before been possible, following Capra as he considers everything that might conceivably touch on the finished film - from the way angels ought to talk to the way wind should sound on a wet pine branch. Then Basinger documents the film's release, and we are given a detailed view of a first-rate Hollywood publicity machine at work, amply illustrated with posters, press releases, publicity stills, and accounts of junkets and stunts, including a hilarious trip by Capra and Stewart to Beaumont, Texas.

Tells the entire story of the film's production and presents us with an extraordinary wrlath of original material.

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394747194
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/1990
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.97 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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