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Premiere of a Christmas Classic

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US poster for It’s a Great Life, 1946 © BFA/ RKO Radio Footage by way of Alamy Inventory Picture.

The concept got here to him whereas shaving. However it might be 5 years earlier than the Civil Conflict historian Philip van Doren Stern completed The Best Present, his candy, slight story a couple of man considering suicide who will get to see what his small-town world could be like if he had by no means been born. He printed up 200 copies as a Christmas card and despatched it to pals in 1943.

Cary Grant learn it and favored it. RKO Footage purchased the rights for him for $10,000. However three scripts and three writers later the story’s potential had but to be unlocked. RKO offered it on to director Frank Capra.

It took 5 additional writers, together with Capra himself and Dorothy Parker, to ship what was now known as It’s a Great Life. It was shot on a four-acre set in California that included a 300-yard-long primary road. The snowstorm on the movie’s coronary heart was shot in 90-degree warmth, the falling snow a mixture of fire-extinguisher foam, cleaning soap and water.

The movie premiered on 20 December 1946. It was, Capra later recalled, about ‘These varieties of individuals [who] counteract all of the meanness there’s on this planet. They’ll go down combating for a misplaced trigger, and also you cheer for them. That’s the closest I can get to heaven.’

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