Zuzu’s Petals

Where to See ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ in Seattle

On screen and stage.

It’s not only its status as one of film history’s most enjoyably ruthless button-pushers or the depth of its casting (what movie this side of Casablanca is stuffed with so many memorable bit parts?) that makes Frank Capra’s 1946 melodrama It’s a Wonderful Life a must-see: This year, its populist tone shows irrefutably that plus ça change when it comes to the powerful screwing the powerless. You could transpose practically every word spoken by Lionel Barrymore as soulless bank magnate Henry Potter straight into Chuck Grassley’s mouth without a molecule of incongruity—namely the belief that poverty and starvation are the ideal motivators of the poor. (As he says of George Bailey’s generosity: “What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class.”) On the other hand, the film’s happy ending does reinforce the notion that charity is a perfectly effective antidote to capitalist rapacity, a dearly beloved rationalization of the American plutocrat right. Who needs to worry about the upward transfer of wealth as long as you have neighbors who will dump dollar bills on your dining-room table?

For the 47th consecutive year, the Grand Illusion (1403 N.E. 50th St.) is screening the film daily Dec. 8–28 ($5–$9; see grandillusioncinema.org for the exact schedule). It’s complemented this year by two stage versions: Twelfth Night Productions presents it in the form of a live radio show. Kenyon Hall, 7904 35th Ave. S.W., twelfthnightproductions.org. $18–$20. Opens Dec. 8. 7:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 17. And for one night only, Theater Anonymous applies its unique gamesmanship to the story: None of the cast knows who anyone else in the cast is until performance time (they all rehearse separately and secretly with director Shawn Belyea). Cornish Playhouse, Seattle Center, the1448projects.org. $20. 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 9.

film@seattleweekly.com

More in Film

Things Get Messy in ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’

The latest from Hong Sang-soo is engaging, but maybe a little too real.

Courtesy of Blue Sky Studios
Ferdinand Is Too Big for Its Bullring

The modern take on the classic children’s story fails when stretched to feature length.

Where to See ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ in Seattle

On screen and stage.

‘Wonder Wheel’ Needs Room to Breathe

Woody Allen’s latest is filled with dialogue, but what is it really saying?

Photo by Nicola Dove/Twentieth Century Fox
                                Josh Gad, left, and Johnny Depp star in Murder on the Orient Express.
Kenneth Branagh Brings Some Fun to ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

A starry cast, old-fashioned screenwriting, and a gigantic mustache make for a satisfying whodunit.

‘The Square’ Is Anything But

Funny, satirical, outrageous—director Ruben Östlund creates an arthouse roller-coaster ride.

Sparks Fly Amongst the Manure in ‘God’s Own Country’

Director Francis Lee takes viewer down to the farm for romance.

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Weds Humor and the Hammer

The latest from Marvel injects its hero with much-needed levity.

The Truth and Beauty of ‘Human Flow’

Artist Ai Weiwei takes viewers to the borderlands for a bird’s-eye view of displacement

Most Read