For the first time in decades, one of the most beloved American films returns to the silver screen this Christmas, when the Smith Opera House presents Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Dec. 18, 19, 21 and 22.
This heartwarming fantasy — one of the most popular films ever made – is about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it's Christmas Eve and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey's dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out.
The screenplay is based on “The Greatest Gift,” a story that Philip Van Doren Stern originally sent to his friends as a Christmas card.
Capra's first production through his newly formed Liberty Films, “It's a Wonderful Life” lost money in its original run, when it was perceived as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life. Only after it lapsed into the public domain in 1973 and became a Christmastime TV perennial did it don the mantle of a holiday classic. Thought it won no Oscars, it received Academy Award Nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (James Stewart), Best Editing and Best Sound.
“It's a Wonderful Life” will be screened at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. This film is not rated and has a running time of two hours, 12 minutes. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. All seats on Thursday are $3. Call 781-5483 or toll-free 866-355-5483 for details or to pre-order tickets.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.