2 stars of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ return to a classic

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NEW YORK – It was just another job for child actress Karolyn Grimes. She was 6 years old and had already shot four films in the summer of 1946 when filming began on “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

This unique work would become very memorable for many other people. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which marks its 75th anniversary this year, is now a beloved holiday tradition across the world.

“It’s an annual lift for humanity in America and the world,” Grimes told The Associated Press. “It’s a good impetus to really keep us in a positive direction. “

The film centers on the character of George Bailey, played by Stewart, who contemplates suicide until his Guardian Angel steps in and shows him all the people whose lives he touched and the difference he made to the world. community.

A memorable character is Zuzu, played by Grimes. She can say, “Whenever a bell rings, an angel takes his wings.” And Zuzu’s rose petals – stuffed in a trouser pocket by Stewart’s Bailey as he comforts his ailing daughter – become a symbol of life.

If Grimes is a bit hazy on the details of the set, Jimmy Hawkins, another former child actor who played Tommy in the film, is the opposite. He remembers a 4-year-old getting up as it was dark and taking buses and streetcars in Culver City to film his scenes.

“I have vivid memories of this film,” he says. “On set, Capra was crouching, eye to eye, telling me what he wanted me to do and if I understood him. I said, ‘Oh, yes, sir.'”

Grimes and Hawkins are among the last surviving members of the cast and have chosen to represent the legacy of the film and spread its lesson in doing well.

“We feel lucky to have played these roles and to carry Frank Capra’s message. He’s not here to do it, and he’s given us a big role and a lot of wonderful memories, so we do it naturally, says Hawkins.

“We want to convey this message, whether it is to inmates in Attica or ringing the bell on the Stock Exchange. We’re talking to everyone to keep this going. “

Paramount Home Entertainment has released a set of two limited edition Blu-ray discs featuring a colorized version of the film in high definition as well as the original black and white film digitally remastered in high definition. The bundle includes over 45 minutes of bonus content.

The film was nominated for five Oscars and was recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made. The film also won first place for Most Inspirational American Film of All Time by AFI.

“It gives us such an optimistic view of what our lives can be like. And we have the power to do it. We can make a difference and we can make a difference, ”said Grimes.

Hawkins remembers Capra with a strong vision for the film: renewed faith, hope and life. The movie he made might be sentimental, but on set the director wasn’t at all.

“It was his movie,” he says. “People fell by the wayside because that was his vision. If you didn’t have his vision, you didn’t make his move. He was very precise, very nice to everyone on the set. But now it’s a job.

The film – now closely associated with Christmas – was not originally intended to be released during the holidays. But RKO’s planned 1946 Christmas movie – “Sinbad the Sailor” – wasn’t ready, so the studio asked Capra to rush production of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. late for a traditional Christmas rollout.

“They did a great job getting him out and then he more or less bombed. It was not a success, ”says Grimes. “But in the early 1970s it became public domain and it was on every channel every year.”

Grimes still receives letters from all over the world and generations of viewers. “I get a lot of fan mail from Britain and even the Middle East and all kinds of places,” she says. “It affects a lot of people, and I think people will want to make a difference. “

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Mark Kennedy is on http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits



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