Listen: Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Irving Berlin discussed on Best of the Michael Medved Show
"The holiday season of the Michael Medved Show. We were speaking before about the great song white Christmas by the great, American, composer Irving. Berlin who wrote another enormous contribution to American morale during World War Two it's called God bless America. And what fascinating about that? Is that Irving Berlin understanding the importance of that song always dictated that any proceeds and there were millions of dollars made from copyright of God bless America would go directly to his favorite charity was called the boy scouts of America. Mm isn't that interesting that another composer greatly associated with Christmas Berlin associated with Christmas because he wrote white Christmas is George, Freddie, condo, the composer of messiah who also understood the deeper importance of messiah and decreed in his will that forever and forever and forever. All of the proceeds from his having written messiah the ultimate Christmas musical contribution would go to benefit an orphanage a foundling hospital in London. Beautiful stuff. Meanwhile, part of the theme of white Christmas is that yearning that longing for something simpler for something. Pure for something more childlike, it's part of the birthright of Christmas if you will of the Christmas holiday, and that's also part of the two most famous Christmas movies of all time both of which came at a time in American history. When people were definitely yearning for a bit. More simplicity a desire to get back to normal right after the tremendous suffering and sacrifice of World War. Two in nineteen forty six. Frank Capra came back to Hollywood after having served in the US army and created the most famous pro American propaganda series. Why we fight he served five years in the army creating that material and left his career behind. He worked in the past on Mr Smith goes to Washington other movies with a guy named Jimmy Stewart. Who when he left Hollywood in nineteen forty two was a number one star he flew bombing missions as an army air corps officer in Europe. But by the time he came back. He was worried that his career was ruined because everyone in American forgotten about him. So the two of them worked together on this project that had been inspired by a story where Capra read the story about a guy who basically thought his life was a failure. But then when he was on the verge of suicide he realizes how different the world would be without him. Capra loved the story. It had been written originally as a Christmas card by Phil van Doren stern and the script had been developed. I for Cary Grant. He wasn't interested. And then when camper took over the movie and brought Jimmy Stewart on board Capra wanted his favorite leading lady Jean Arthur to play the female lead, she declined and he called on Donna Reed. And the rest is movie history. It's a wonderful life was an expensive movie to make Capra spent a good deal of money on snow on getting the look of Bedford falls. Just right. And it was considered a flop commercial flop. It didn't earn back its money. And in fact, the number of the leading critics like the New Yorker magazine, basically sniffed at the movie, the New Yorker wrote practically all the actors involved behaviors cutaneous pixies wonderful life is so mincing as to border on baby talk. Well, there's that childlike purity again, the movie is pure if beautiful for many people, including Steven Spielberg, apparently, it represents the ultimate cinematic expression with a conclusion with Jimmy Stewart holding his youngest daughter and holding Donna Reed and staring at people singing around his Christmas. Tree a conclusion that can always bring tears to the eyes.."