Monday, December 05, 2011

christmas at vifc

(UK, USA, 1951, 86 mins)

International Film Centre VanCity Theatre
Tuesday, December 21st, 6:30
Thursday, December 23rd, 6:00
onstage now at Pacific Theatre
Directed By: Brian Desmond Hurst
Cast: Alastair Sim, Kathleen Harrison, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley

Alastair Sim offers a masterclass in comedy as Ebenezer Scrooge in this definitive black and white version of the Dickens' classic. An incomparable roster of British supporting actors fill out the supernatural morality tale, including Michael Hordern as Jacob Marley, Hattie Jacques as Mrs Fezziwig, and George Cole as the young Ebenezer.

"A trenchant and inspiring Christmas show." —Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 1951

(USA, 1946, 130 mins)
Soul Food article

International Film Centre VanCity Theatre
Tuesday, December 20th, 6:30
Thursday, December 22nd, 6;30

Directed By: Frank Capra
Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
"This story is the lousiest cheese," Frank Capra admitted to his star after making a rotten pitch. James Stewart stuck by his favourite director. "Frank, if you want to do a movie about me committing suicide, with an angel with no wings named Clarence, I'm your boy."

Although the picture has become synonymous with homespun, small town values – values Stewart personified and Capra obviously cherished – it achieves its profound emotional resonance precisely by stressing their limitations, even to the point of suicide. This is the tragedy of a man who dreams of traveling the world, building cities, and making love to Gloria Grahame, who never leaves his hometown, works in his dad's office, and marries Donna Reed. The "unborn" sequence where Clarence shows George how things might look if he hadn't been around is chilling not because it's morbid fantasy, but because "Pottersville" was and is so much closer to contemporary society than the nostalgic gentility of Bedford Falls.

For both Capra and Stewart this was their first movie after service in WWII, and it's riven with their anxieties about coming home. Whether you believe in angels or not, it's a wonderful film.

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