I’ll Give You the Moon: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Romantic Moment #12

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

So exactly one year ago I did another It’s A Wonderful Life post for the Valentine’s Day countdown. I swear I didn’t plan this, I only got the idea for it when I was doing my The Notebook post as Noah wanting to redo a house made me think of how Mary loved that old house and she and George renovate it for their family.

Now this movie holds a special and dear place in my heart. Even though it is now considered a Christmas movie, it is one of my favorites to watch anytime because of the great message. Here is one man who helps and touches so many others, without even realizing the affect he has on everyone. He may not be a famous or a millionaire; but in his kind and quiet way is helping everyone in the town. I also love it because Jimmy Stewart is in it, and he’s my favorite actor. Plus the film is directed by the amazing Frank Capra. He is my second favorite director and I simply adore practically every film he has made.

We start off It’s a Wonderful Life, with all these people praying for George Bailey, (Jimmy Stewart); for God to please help him in his time of need. God decides to send in an angel to help him. We hear all this from Joseph, an angel overseer, who selects Clarence for the job. Joseph fills Clarence in on George’s backstory so he will know what lead George up to this point in his life.

From a young age George was a leader and eager to travel the world. When he was 12, he saved his brother from hypothermia, rescuing him when he fell into some icy water and sacrificing his ear. He works at a pharmacy and saves Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, from jail time when he points out that Mr. Gower accidentaly messed up the dosage on account of him being distraught over his own son’s death. We are also introduced to Mary, a girl a few years younger than George, who declares she will marry him and love him forever.

Fast forward the years and George is now 22, and eager to go off into the world. He was working for his father at the family’s Building, Saving, & Loan; until his brother graduated, and now he is going to use all the money he put aside and go off for college. That night he goes to Harry’s grad party and hijinks ensue. He and Mary fall into the pool and enjoy a romantic moon-filled night.  But unfortunately as George and Mary are getting closer together; George’s father becomes ill and dies. The only way to keep the family business going and save people from evil Mr. Potter is to stay. So George does for another four years, sending Harry off to college instead.

Fast forwarding again, and Harry, George’s brother, is back from college. But instead of staying, he is going to work for his wife’s father. George is distraught at having to stay in the town longer, but after finally admitting his feelings for Mary, is happily and ready to start a life with her.

It is after George and Mary’s wedding, and the two are excited to leave the town for their honeymoon.Once again as George is preparing to leave the town, something happens to get him to stay. (The man just can’t get a break.) There is a run on the bank and to calm everyone down, George and Mary sacrifice all of their honeymoon trip money. That night he goes home, and Mary has taken an old abandoned house and made it their home.

Potter becomes worried about George’s affordable housing project, and tries to hire him, but is turned down by George’s morals. He and Mary start a family.

WWII comes and George still can’t leave, his ear keeps him from enlisting, but Harry makes all kinds of victories and earns all kinds of medals.

On Christmas Eve, the Bailey’s are preparing for a Christmas welcome for Harry. Sadly, forgetful Uncle Billy loses the money is supposed to withdraw. Potter calls in an audit and sicks him on George, hoping to get the Savings and Loan. George looks everywhere but can’t find the money. He even goes to Potter (who secretly has the money) sends the cops over to arrest him for bank fraud.

George is desperate and when Clarence comes he wishes he was never born. Clarence grants his wish and he sees without him, the affordable housing project, and all the things he does to help the people; the town is now full of sleazy nightclubs, stripper joints, bars, pawn shops, etc. Without him Mr. Gower was sent to prison for poisoning the child, as there was no George to stop him. Martini does not own the bar, as he was never granted a loan by George. George’s friend Violet Bick is a stripper and gets arrested as a pickpocket; as George wasn’t around to help her out and she had no other alternative. Ernie is helplessly poor, with his family having forsaken him. Uncle Billy has been in an insane asylum for many years since he lost his brother and the family business. Harry is dead as a result of George not being there to save him from drowning, and the servicemen he would have saved also died. George’s mother is a bitter widow, and Mary is a shy, single, librarian. Clarence then explains how George single-highhandedly prevented this dire fate. He, and he alone, kept Potter in check, preventing the town from descending into squalor and vice.

George wishes to live again and Clarence grants it. He runs home to face the bank examiner, the auditor, and the police. He doesn’t care as he is with his family. Everyone he knows brings money to help pay the $25,000. His brother Harry skips dinner with the President to be home and support George.

Most Romantic Moment:

So this year’s most romantic moment comes right after George had visited Harry’s graduation party. There he ran into his best friend’s sister, Mary, who had also just graduated. Mary has always had a crush on George and he has realized that she is no longer a little girl. The two dance the night away, falling into the pool and getting wet.

George is walking Mary home and throws a rock at an old house (something everyone does in the town). If you hit a window, then your wish will come true. George throws the rock and hits the window. When Mary asks about his wish, George tells Mary about how he wants to leave Bedford Falls. Mary listens, picks up a rock and throws it herself, hitting the window. George tries to get her to tell her what the wish was, but she won’t say anything. George tries to get more out of her asking what she wants.

George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.

It is sooooo romantic!!!! Here he is telling Mary that anything she wants he will try and get for her. That nothing is too much for her, even the moon is not too far out of reach! Anything is possible when they are together. He would do anything for her, anything.  I would love it if a guy said that to me. Class A pick up line! 🙂

For more on It’s a Wonderful Life check out the 25 Films of Christmas

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I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

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Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

Anya

So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

better man

But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

Dimitri

So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

you deserve better

Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

OMG

Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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