Tagged: George Bailey

It’s a Wonderful Life: Jimmy Stewart’s Sporty Tweed Suit

James Stewart as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

James Stewart as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Vitals

James Stewart as George Bailey, newlywed banker

Bedford Falls, NY, fall 1932 through spring 1934

Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Release Date: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson

Background

Although the film takes place over the course of one man’s whole life, It’s a Wonderful Life has earned a comfortable home among nostalgic holiday cinema. The man in question, George Bailey (James Stewart), spends a depressing Christmas Eve questioning his existence… prompting a visit from his guardian angel to remind him of the titular wonderful life that he has led.

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George Bailey’s Birdseye Tweed Christmas Suit

James Stewart (as George Bailey) with Donna Reed (as Mary Bailey) and Karolyn Grimes (as Zuzu) in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

James Stewart (as George Bailey) with Donna Reed (as Mary Bailey) and Karolyn Grimes (as Zuzu) in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Vitals

James Stewart as George Bailey, banker and depressed family man

Bedford Falls, NY, Christmas Eve 1945

Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Release Date: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson

Background

Jimmy Stewart and director Frank Capra have both called It’s a Wonderful Life the favorite film of each of their prolific careers. Stewart cites George Bailey as his favorite character that he’s played, and Capra would annually screen the film for his own family each Christmas.

First released 60 years ago this week, the film earned mixed reviews and was ultimately considered a financial disappointment, earning only $3.3 million during its initial box office run against its considerably expensive $3.7 million budget. (It also earned the ire of the FBI for its “Communist tricks” of “represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture,” but that’s a whole different story.) Continue reading

Jimmy Stewart’s “Charleston” Suit

Donna Reed and James Stewart dance the Charleston as Mary Hatch and George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

Donna Reed and James Stewart dance the Charleston as Mary Hatch and George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).

Vitals

James Stewart as George Bailey, bank officer and “nice guy”

Bedford Falls, NY, May 1928

Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Release Date: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson

Background

Today would’ve been the 108th birthday of James Stewart, and BAMF Style is honoring this screen legend by looking at Stewart’s own favorite character from his filmography: George Bailey.

Rated #9 on AFI’s 100 Heroes list and #8 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time, Stewart’s portrayal of the Capra-esque “every man” still resonates with audiences 70 years later, especially around Christmas time (due to an NTA clerical error in 1974). In fact, the local Regent Square Theater near my house in Pittsburgh hosts a free screening of It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmastime, which I’ve been sure to never miss in the last four years.

One of my favorite scenes – not only in It’s a Wonderful Life but from movie history – is the Charleston contest where George and Mary reconnect and then find themselves drenched when a jealous rival for her affections (played by The Little Rascals‘ Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer) opens the dance floor to send the two flap-happy dancers into the school swimming pool. In fact, this scene was filmed at the Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles which indeed had a gym floor that could be converted into a pool with the press of a button. Continue reading