Thursday 22 December 2022

It's Not a Wonderful Life

Looking over past posts, particularly Christmas themed ones, I came across something I wrote about the Christmas favourite, It’s a Wonderful Life. For some reason I waited years to watch it and when I needed films for my blindspot list, I decided now (then) was the time. But this was not the film I thought it was going to be.

From the minute George is introduced, he has ambition, he wants more from life and definitely more from the town of Bedford Falls. Each time George agrees to stay behind and stay chained to the town his eyes grow dimmer and by the time George has a family and business to cope with and he’s literally lost the will to live, the fight has left him. You can see the flicker of hope disappear from his face. All his life George just wanted to leave the town and when everyone stopped him, he wanted to leave this mortal coil but he wasn’t even allowed to do that! This isn’t the heart-warming story it’s been portrayed as. It’s a nightmare.

As someone who really does love Christmas but I may have lost a bit of spark on some years due to loss, I still find joy in the season (not the holiday). I have my own traditions I like to keep to, which usually involves decorating on 1st December, making biscuits, watching my list of Christmas films, buy presents in November, that sort of thing, as well as my family and friends’ traditions. I do love Christmas but, I cannot bear the thought of It’s a Wonderful Life as it fills me with sadness. I’d much rather watch the Moonlighting episode ‘It’s a Wonderful Job’.

I always saw Frank Capra's classic as a beacon of hope and Christmas cheer and that's how it was sold to me. Of course, as I got older, still never having seen it, I read that George, our hero, goes through a 'Christmas Carol' type deal but just with the future part, where he sees what lives would be like if he hadn't been born. The fact that George was about to kill himself by jumping off a bridge only having to jump in any way to save an old man, his guardian angel, puts a downer on the whole story. George is pushed to his limit when he steps up to that bridge, having had to miss out on countless chances to escape his hometown, where I'm sure he would be far happier. He is always making sacrifices and always 'doing the right thing' for everyone else, it's no surprise he ends up on that bridge. He's meant to be saving his town, friends and family from the evil Mr Potter but how has it come to be George's problem? The visit to 'Pottersville' just mounts more pressure on George than ever. Seeing that yes, he may have saved people, or changed people's lives, but I still can't shake the fact that it is all at the expense of George's real happiness. What I would have liked to see is what if George HAD got to live his dream, what would have his life been like?

Maybe there is an alternate universe where George escaped Bedford Falls, left his brother and uncle to take over the business and he ran off into the sunset. Maybe even with Mary. But if he had done that, there wouldn’t have been a film.

Monday 5 December 2022

Confess, Fletch - Interview with John Slattery


Just like the previous iterations, Fletch finds himself in the middle of a mystery, art theft and a murder, with him as prime suspect. Supporting Hamm in this crime comedy is host of weird and wonderfully characters played by an equally brilliant cast. All embracing their comedic side and they obviously had a lot of fun doing so. Playing Fletch’s long suffering boss who happens to hate everyone, is Frank, played by John Slattery. Known mostly for playing Roger Sterling in Mad Men and Howard Stark in the Marvel films franchise, Slattery has also taken various comedic roles, adding Frank to the list. We got to steal a few moments of Slattery’s time to talk Fletch, directing and whether comedy is harder than crying.

Full interview in the latest issue of Filmhounds HERE.

Blue Jean - BFI London Film Festival


There have been stories told about life in the 80s and queer stories covering all subjects, but Blue Jean has that spark of brilliance that you long to see when sifting through all the films at the festivals in a year. Georgia Oakley’s debut feature is a fiercely emotional and at times painful frustrating story yet its so beautifully told.

Read more in the latest issue of Filmhounds HERE.

Saturday 3 December 2022

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari


First released in 1920, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, will always be one of the silent films that will live on through cinematic history. This German expressionism silent horror, originally inspired by the writers Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz’s experiences during World War One, is known for the twist ending and story structure, which apparently were not included by choice by the writers. Yet these devices are part of the reason the film has gained its iconic status, along with the style and design of the film that will forever be recognised.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.