What can be said of "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE" that hasn't been said? It's a genuine "classic". By that, it holds up as well today as it did when it was first released "over" 60 years ago. It's not a coincidence that many of the best directors in the world have cited it as being in their personal top ten list. For this reviewer, it certainly deserves this status over the over-praised "CITIZEN KANE".
Jimmy Stewart has never been better than in his role here as George Bailey, a man about to commit suicide as the film opens. An angel is about to be sent down to earn his wings, to not only save him, but show this lost soul how many lives would've been affected had he not been around. First, though, he and the audience is brought up to date as to how George got to the low point in his life he's found himself at.
This is great filmmaking and although it may be too corny for some, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE" proves that without big effects and fast, MTV stylized editing, a great film can still result!
PARAMOUNT has presented the correct full-frame version. The black and white photography has never looked as good as it does here, in any previous airing or dvd release. It's a slick image, with minimal scratches or signs of age. Contrast is excellent throughout.
PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital Mono mix, which is notably cleaned up over previous versions. There are a few scenes where minor hiss can be heard, but overall, it's excellent. The fidelity is impressive and dialogue is intelligible in every scene.
PARAMOUNT has included a tribute to Frank Capra and a "making of" featurette.