30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 14} Gritty Law Drama – Anatomy of a Murder

Have you seen Anatomy of a Murder? Most likely, you have not. It is a James Stewart movie that is not a Hitchcock film. What intrigued me about this movie was the subject matter: a man accused of killing his wife’s alleged rapist. This film was made in 1959 and I was interested in how they would portray this and what the viewpoint surrounding it would be. James Stewart’s father hated this movie, called it a “dirty picture,” and took out a full page ad in a newspaper asking people not to go see the movie.

James Stewart plays a lawyer asked to defend the man accused of killing his wife’s alleged rapist. Even though he asks both parties to disclose everything to him, he along with the audience learn the real details of their life and the events in question. There aren’t many movies that keep me guessing, and this was one of them. I wasn’t sure of anyone or anything until the end of the film. The wife character was flirtatious and seemed loose, and the question was whether she was battered and sexually assaulted or if it was consensual and she is covering for her husband beating her and killing her lover.

I’m not going to tell you what happens or who was lying or if the accused gets away with murder, literally; but I will tell you that this is a film worth watching. It is interesting to see the other side of legal defense – defending the accused.

12 Days of Christmas {Polite and (paranoid) Style} 8 People Praying or (It’s A Wonderful Life)

I’ve already shared my feelings for  It’s A Wonderful Life in my 30 Days, 30 Movies series, but you can’t share Christmas movies without sharing something about this film.

This movie has a very clever opening.  After the credits roll, there are eight distinct voices asking God to help George Bailey: Gower, Martini, George’s mother, Ernie, Bert, Mary, Janie, and Zu Zu.  We haven’t seen any of these people, but it speaks volumes about them and George’s character.  We know that George has helped people and has made an impact in their lives and we know that he is in major trouble.  We know all of this from overhearing the prayers of the people.

The most redeeming part of the movie for me is that those prayers were answered.  George’s friends and family prayed for God to help him, and God did help him.  As I’m sure you know, George does not kill himself and the town pitches in to raise the money Potter stole.  I love that this movie shows God’s hand in the life of a person.

One of my favorite scenes:

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 4} Black and White or (It’s A Wonderful Life)

I am a nerd.  Did you notice that already?  I love movies, especially black and white movies.  I love them.  There’s something about the movies that were made during the “Golden Age” of Hollywood that can’t be replicated now.  Or at least if it is, it is not very often.

I dedicated the Black and White movie day to Hunny.  It’s A Wonderful Life is his all time favorite movie, and I bought it for him as a Christmas present on our first Christmas as a married couple.  Hunny wanted me to point out that despite not growing up together, our relationship is very similar to George and Mary’s.  It is evident that they love each other.  I tear up every time I watch George tell Mary that he doesn’t want to marry anyone and he wants to do what he wants to do (then they are married in the next scene).  Hunny had a similar conversation with me a couple weeks before he proposed, “I don’t know if I want to be married, but I know that I don’t want to be married to anyone but you.”   Men.  Am I right?

I have to let you in on a big secret: I don’t like this movie.  I have never cared for this movie.  Until I met Hunny, I was always able to avoid watching it during the holiday season.  Every Christmas this movie is shown on one channel or another in America.  It wasn’t a tradition to watch it every year for my family, so as long as I steered clear of the channel it was being shown on, I was home free.  Since giving this movie to Hunny, we’ve watched it at least five times.  We’ve only been married 2 1/2 years!  We have only spent two Christmases together married!  Can I just say that I love my husband?

This movie was a disappointment at the box office and ignored at the Academy Awards.  I have a theory about it.  This movie is two hours and ten minutes long.  At the one hour mark, we are still watching the main character’s life unfold, but we haven’t gotten to the point of the story.  The whole point of the story is that an angel needs to go to earth to save George Bailey’s life.  We should know why his life is in jeopardy well before the one hour mark.  Blake Snyder agrees.  In his book, Save the Cat!, he devotes a chapter on “The Immutable Laws of Screenplay Physics.”  One of the laws is that audiences can only stand so much “pipe,” which means people can only sit so long to get to the point of the story.  An hour plus is a really long time for me.

Just because I do not care for this movie does not mean it isn’t a good movie.  The acting in it is phenomenal.  Did you know that when George’s Uncle Billy walks away drunk, a production assistant dropped some equipment off camera, which led the actor to yell, “I’m ok!”?  That take was used by Frank Capra in the film.  It’s A Wonderful Life has a great message.  Playing George Bailey was Jimmy Stewart’s favorite role.  It’s A Wonderful Life was Frank Capra’s favorite of the films he made.  Not to mention, people watch it as a Christmas tradition every year!  That is really something special.

Do you watch It’s A Wonderful Life during Christmas or as part of your Christmas celebration?  Or do you feel that it is too depressing and too much of a downer to watch as part of your Christmas tradition?

Favorite Line: “George Bailey, I’ll love you till the day I die.”

Favorite Character: Mary Bailey

Favorite Scene: When George and Mary unknowingly dance into a swimming pool