The perennial Christmas classic from 1946, "It's A Wonderful Life," will be shown Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium at Brigham Young University as part of the ongoing Special Collections Motion Picture Archives Film Series.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and admission is free. Seating is limited, so early arrival is encouraged for an assured seat. No food or drink is permitted in the auditorium. Children age eight and older are welcome.
The film copy being shown was owned by its star, James Stewart, and is part of the James Stewart Papers donated to BYU in 1983.
"This showing is our Christmas gift to the faculty, students and members of the surrounding community," says James D'Arc, curator of the Special Collections Motion Picture Archives. "Mr. Stewart was given film prints of many of his motion pictures as part of his contract with the studios. It is a rare treat to see this pristine copy on a theatrical screen and with an audience."
Stewart plays the role of George Bailey, who can't manage to get out of the small town of Bedford Falls. Prosperity seems to elude him as his father dies, his brother goes off to war and becomes a hero and his friend strikes it rich as a businessman. Bailey, married with four children, is left in the small town to run his father's building and loan company. Only a visit from an angel convinces Bailey that his life is worth living.
"It's a Wonderful Life" was nominated for five Academy Awards. Although it was surprisingly not a big hit on its initial release, the film has gained legendary status among generations of viewers in the 50 years since its original production.
The Special Collections Motion Picture Archives Film Series is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Harold B. Lee Library and Dennis & Linda Gibson. For information and a complete schedule, please visit sc.lib.byu.edu.