Mike Shaw: Why there will too many turkeys from Tinseltown on our TVs this Christmas
PICTURE the scene: It's a wild and snowy night. A man stands on a bridge, staring into the icy river rushing below him and contemplating his life. We have already been witness to extortion, fraud and domestic abuse. Over the next hour, this man's little brother will drown, and our character will plunge into depression, assault a police officer and crash his car while drunk.
If you're thinking that this is all from a newly unearthed screenplay by Arthur Miller, or perhaps a synopsis of Ken Loach's latest work, you couldn't be more wrong. Everything above, and more, takes place in It's a Wonderful Life, the "feel-good family favourite" and regular winner of polls to find the public's favourite Christmas film.
The fact that It's a Wonderful Life is a tad downbeat is nothing new. For decades, the film has attracted as many humbugs as it has admirers, by virtue of it being "too depressing". Love it or hate though, there is no denying that by the end of Frank Capra's film that elusive warm fuzzy feeling is well and truly kindled.