Frank Capra

PARIS: Nothing, not even a cigarette butt on the ground, I can’t believe it. This town would make Frank Capra wanna throw up.

Francesco “Frank” Capra (1897-1991), Italian-born American film director, producer and writer, the creative force behind many of the award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. He won six Oscars, and numerous other awards, both in the US and in Italy.

He is perhaps best-known for his 1946 Christmas fantasy drama film, It’s a Wonderful Life, based on the 1943 short story, The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern, itself loosely based on Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his own dreams to help others, but is driven to despair one Christmas Eve. His guardian angel saves him from suicide by showing him how he has touched the lives of so many others, and how different life would have been for his wife Mary (played by Donna Reed), and his community of Bedford Falls, should he never have been born.

It’s a Wonderful Life made a loss at the box office, and received lukewarm reviews. The FBI thought it was pro-Communist. However, after becoming a Christmas television staple in the 1970s, it became one of the world’s most beloved movies, and is regarded as one of the greatest, and most inspiring, films of all time. It was Frank Capra’s favourite of his own films, and James Stewart’s favourite film in which he starred.

The wholesome, slightly quirky town of Bedford Falls bears more than a passing resemblance to Stars Hollow, and the Christmas setting seems perfect for Lorelai’s love of snow. Also note that in the film, the kindly George Bailey gives bank loans to people based on their good character, not on their financial status – Lorelai seems to have received a shock when she discovered that bankers don’t actually care how nice you are when she was trying to get a loan.

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