A 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is now available. The classic film is about an angel who helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers, director Frank Capra’s film has made an indelible impact on popular culture and continues to be a cherished part of many families’ holiday tradition.
For myself, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a tradition in my own household. During the holidays, my wife, children and I enjoy watching the film by a warm fire while colorful lights on our Christmas tree illuminate the darkness in our living room. I’ve watched the film for over 34 years now. It’s helped me during very difficult times in my youth as an only child raised in an unstable single parent household. I always found solace in the film back then as I watched it on a small black and white TV in my living room.
This new two-disc edition freshens up the film’s packaging, is in Blu-Ray/DVD format and includes limited edition art cards featuring images of original ads and lobby cards from the film. This artwork makes the new edition unique and collectible to fans. Disc one of the edition is the original black and white film along with a documentary about the making of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The documentary is hosted by the famous, since deceased character actor, Tom Bosley from TV’s “Happy Days” fame. Bosley, in a soothing parental voice tells the story of the making of the film from start to finish. It’s an excellent featurette that offers up interesting tidbits of information about the film such as it being made in Southern California during the summer to its failure at the box office when it premiered in 1946. The film, in later years eventually found it’s footing through reruns on TV and when pre-DVD video players made it into our homes. The second disc of the edition is the colorized version of the film. Considered “sacrilegious” by some fans for altering this classic film, the colorized version does stroke the curiosity of those interested in seeing what Bedford Falls and its citizens in an alternative color reality looked like. And, as a fan who saw the original colorized version of "It's a Wonderful Life" in the early 1980s, this version is a lot better.
After an unprecedented election year that has left many Americans with a feeling of uncertainty, “It’s a Wonderful Life” reinforces our values and how we should live our lives. It offers many lessons about being a part of a community, helping one another in difficult times and how each and every one us has an impact on someone in our lives. Thus, we all have purpose.
There are many other lessons to be found in “It’s a Wonderful Life” that awaits you to discover. If you haven’t seen this film before or are looking to rediscover this timeless classic, pick up a copy of this 70th anniversary edition for the holidays.