Thursday, December 22, 2011

Zuzu's Story

I love the movie, It's a Wonderful Life. We watch it every year at Rancho Silverfiddle. Grandpappy Silverfiddle is sick of the movie, because once the copyright expired it looped endlessly on public TV because stations didn't have to pay for it

 The Washington Post published an article back in November entitled, For Zuzu of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ it wasn’t such a wonderful life afterward.

They tell the story of Karolyn Grimes, the child actress who played Zuzu. She had more than her share of tragedy in her life, and she never saw the famous movie she acted in until well into adulthood:
“I never saw movies I was in because my mom told me that would be prideful, being stuck on yourself,” said Grimes. [...]
Working full time and raising seven children, the 39-year-old Grimes had no time to spare, much less to sit around watching television. But something tugged at her as she saw snatches of snow-clogged streets of small-town America and people she thought she knew.
"Then it hit me,” said Grimes. “I was in that movie. I was Zuzu.” (WaPo)
George Bailey is a Capitalist

Liberals claim a monopoly on George Bailey, and cast all of the sins of capitalism upon Mr. Potter, but it's not quite so simple. George Bailey is a capitalist, bravely fighting the well-connected crony crapitalist who uses his DC connections in his campaign to shut down market competition and lock up the town as his own personal fiefdom.

Jon Corzine is a modern-day Mr. Potter

In the movie, George Bailey is driven to the brink of suicide by the prospect of his savings and load going bust because a few thousand dollars cannot be accounted for. Meanwhile, here in real life, we have actual Mr. Potters who are democrats. Uber lib democrat contribution bundler Jon Corzine lost billions, and you can bet he's never entertained the thought of jumping off a bridge into an icy river. And he shouldn't. It's all good! He's rich and well-connected, just the opposite of Jimmy Stewart's humble character.

Politics aside, it really is a wonderful movie. The courtship and honeymoon scenes are beautiful, and the underlying messages are timeless and non-political.  The actress who played Zuzu observed...
“Oh, it was fresh and dark, about as relevant today as it was when it was made,” said Grimes, quieting a moment. “Think of all the people out of work, losing their homes, hungry kids worried about their parents. What’s so different about today and 60 years ago?” (WaPo)


Ducky's here said...

George Bailey is a social democrat. Potter has something in mind for you, the Full Ayn Rand.

Silverfiddle said...

Wrong on both counts, Ducky.

Bailey almost certainly was a Democrat, not a Social Democrat. But back then, being a democrat was a mainstream American thing to be.

Anyway, I did not claim otherwise. I said he was a capitalist. So you think being a capitalist is incompatible with being a democrat? Interesting Freudian slip...

Potter was no libertarian, that's for sure. He did not respect the property rights of others, so that alone counts him out. No, he's your typical government-enabled crony crapitalist, availing himself of the best government money can buy.

Now, Jon Corzine, there's a real-life Potter, and he's, as you would say, a Social Democrat!

Mike aka Proof said...

Silverfiddle: "Every time a bell rings, a liberal hears it echo in his head!"

Trekkie4Ever said...

I have never failed to watch this movie every Christmas and this year is no exception. I normally watch the black and white version, it just seems fitting, but after purchasing the colored version, I am undecided which I will watch this weekend??

Silverfiddle said...

I am a traditionalist, Leticia. I like my "It's a Wonderful Life" like I like my Three Stooges: In black and white!

KP said...

I watch it every year on Christamas Eve after a home made tomale dinner. I have done so for decades and will do so again this year with Mrs KP and my 21 and 24 year old daughters. Tradition!

Jersey McJones said...

A rather unpleasant take on a perfectly pleasant film.

Yes, George Bailey was banker, but he was much more than a "capitalist." He was a lot of things. An American.

I worked in international trade. It fascinated me, and it is a vital part of our lives. But that doesn't just make me a "capitalist" and it in no way makes me supportive of "Free Trade." I'm a lot of things. I'm an American.

At the time of the films release, the government was not very happy with it, finding communistic undertones. The interconnections of the people of Bedford Falls, the "my brother's keeper" attitude, are certainly not capitalistic messages, let alone conservative.

It's a very liberal film.

As for Jon Corzine, it seems to me his behavior was anything but "liberal." Seems to me your shooting the message without cause, and even though it has nothing to do with the messenger!

Quite a couple of stretches on this post!


Alligator said...

"It's A Wonderful Life" and the 1951 British version of "Scrooge" with Alastair Sim. Both B&W are the best Christmas movies ever made.

When you get in the mood for campy Christmas entertainment you can't say no to the Rankin-Bass animated features. Burl Ives in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Mickey Rooney & Fred Astaire in Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jimmy Durante in Frosty the Snowman etc.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why those who wish to be identified with "Social Democrats" are, themselves, such decidedly dour, peevish, unsociable creatures?

The term "Compassion Fascists" comes easily to mind in most of these cases.

I've always liked It's a Great Life, myself, but have never seen anything particularly "political" about it. Instead its about Kindness versus Meanness, Generosity versus Niggardliness, Understanding versus Callousness, Courage versus Cowardice, and above all the nature of and rewards attendant on feeling Gratitude.

A Christmas Carol is an earlier -- and even more successful -- treatment of the same theme.

My own particular favorite among all the Christmas movies happens to be The Bishop's Wife. I'd cheerfully murder any imbecile who tried to make a "colorized" version of it. I could watch the skating scene over and over again -- it's rare example of absolute cinematic perfection.

RIght this minute I'm about to call an old friend currently living the life of a shut-in out in the wilds of Missouri. I'm in the process of reading aloud Christmas at Dingley Dell from The Pickwick Papers -- over the long distance telephone, if you would believe. We're both enjoying it immensely.


~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Does anyone besides me remember Come to the Stable with Loretta Young and Celeste Holm as two nuns? It played Radio City Music Hall at Christmas when I was a wee bairn.

I wonder why it's never been on TV?

Anyone know? It was a wonderful movie -- and it too was in classic BLACK and WHITE, God bless it.

~ FreeThinke

KP said...

My view: I don't care if "It's A Wonderful Life" portrays anyone of a certain political ilk. Why? Because all kinds of political ideologues from both sides and in between love their family and friends, and have experienced horrific life experiences; only to come out the other side; changed. Perhaps even hopeful.

I am happy to see we agree.

A little home, my little (now adult) kids, my little small/enormous town; I enjoy it most times. It's an attitude.

I have enough tamales and good will for everybody. SoCal is warm in December.

Trekkie4Ever said...

Black and white it is, lol! It's just better that way.

Always On Watch said...

Silverfiddle said to Duck:

So you think being a capitalist is incompatible with being a democrat?

I say:


Silverfiddle said...


The movie was controversial at the time because it portrayed grubby immigrant (like my mom and my grandparents) moving into their own homes. We were more bigoted back the.

Like Ducky, you make the mistake of conflating separate issues. "Brothers keeper" is not incompatible with capitalism, and it surely didn't exist in communistic societies! The government-imposed scarcity creates the opposite: an every man for himself society.

Under capitalism, you have to serve your fellows to make money, and George Bailey was indeed a capitalist, facilitating the movement of money to build homes for people, linking up borrower and lender, to the benefit of both, as well as the builders! That's capitalism!

And Jon Corzine is a famous, nanny-nattering scolding Liberal Democrat. And he robbed people but still walks free because he is rich and well connected. He is a liberal. He is a democrat. And he is a modern-day Potter. Own it.

Silverfiddle said...

Alligator: Rankin-Bass Christmas shows rock! We love Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Rudolph. Burl Ives is classic!

Little Drummer Boy is a serious one, but quite good, as is Nestor the Long Eared Donkey.

I don't know what excuse I'll use to watch those once the kids are grown...

KP said...

Hermey to Head Elf: "Well, sir, someday, I'd like to be a... a dentist." from 1964 Rudolph

dmarks said...

Ducky said: "George Bailey is a social democrat."

I have only seen the movie once, but I don't recall anywhere in the movie where he was advocating more and more government power. Was there?

dmarks said...

"And Jon Corzine is a famous, nanny-nattering scolding Liberal Democrat. And he robbed people but still walks free because he is rich and well connected. He is a liberal. He is a democrat. And he is a modern-day Potter. Own it."

Yes. The liberal Democrats, by and large, favored the TARP and bailouts which handed billions to the big bankers. By and large, the conservative Republicans opposed this.

Z said...

I don't know if you've caught THE BISHOP'S WIFE, a Christmas film with Loretta YOung, Cary Grant and David Niven, but the Bishop's little girl is Debbie and she's played by the same little girl who played Zuzu.

I love both the films......
It's A Wonderful Life is definitely a favorite.
The honeymoon scenes are classic but I LOVE the whole idea that the town chipped in to save George..not very unlike the anonymous givers this year who're paying peoples' layaways off so they can get the things they wanted!

Anonymous said...

Z, I make it a point never to miss The Bishop's Wife if I can possibly help it. It's gotten to the point where it could hardly be Christmas without it.

As I mentioned above, the Skating Scene alone is worth three times the price of admission. Don't you just love Sylvester, the cab driver?

I saw it again on TCM just a few days ago, and found it as charming, touching, heartwarming and endearing as ever, despite it's heavy dependence on "Hollywood Magic" to melt hearts and transform lives rather than the light of true spiritual understanding.

The MUSIC is wonderful -- very high quality, truly expressive, and evocative of the special sense of ebullience and high energy that only those who love Christmas in the wintry Old English Tradition can know.

Every member of the cast is superb in the role he plays. It's impossible to believe these actors were not sincerely touched by the material they worked with. Without the touching, wistfully comical presence of Elsa Lanchester, the magnificent grumpiness of Monty Woolley, the equally magnificent frozen hauteur of Gladys Cooper, the quiet appeal of the dear woman who played the Bishop's much-imposed-upon secretary, and of course Sylverster, the film would probably fall flat.

This time around I did find myself wishing that David Niven as Bishop Brougham had allowed at least a tiny hint of a capacity for warmth and affection to enter his portrayal now and then. He is so stiff, so insensitive, and so stuffy I felt I wanted to reach into the picture and shake some sense into him. Of course that was what Cary Grant's suavely sympathetic portrayal of Dudley, the unlikely angel, was all about, I suppose. Still, I wish Niven had given us just a little more to like about Bishop Brougham. Even at the end he still seemed like a stuck up stuffed shirt.

Oh well, as we know only too well, "perfection is not attainable this side of Heaven," but The Bishop's Wife comes close.

And Z, did you ever see Come to the Stable? It's complete disappearance from the scene these past sixty years has me beginning to wonder if my childhood memory may be only an illusion.


~ FreeThinke

Z said...

FT, they showed COME TO THE STABLE the other's just lovely.
And I love the line the Angel says about Sylvester "His children and his children's children will rise up and call him bless-ed" It always touches me very deeply.
I hope you have a great New Year.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Z.

Very glad to get this news about Come to the Stable. I shall have to look more carefully for it next year -- or maybe find a CD or DVD of it -- something I rarely do.

I've never joined NETFLIX, have you? I'll bet they have it. But I wouldn't want to see it just any old time of the year. It belongs especially to Christmas.

Hope you had a lovely day, yesterday.


~ FT