Tuesday, December 27, 2011

JIMMY STEWART bio and thoughts

Jimmy Stewart didn’t know at the time that this 1946 Frank Capra film would become the most played of his career, and a tradition for Christmas.  It’s appropriate this New Year for two new reasons–we’re also coming out of a war (at least one of them), and trying to get over a greedy banker (or twelve.)  One wonders if Bedford Falls existed today, would its park be occupied by protesters?  The fictional town included 75 stores and buildings, one of the largest movie sets ever constructed.  The original story was rejected multiple times, then eventually optioned by Cary Grant’s agent (although Grant never pursued it).  Later, Dorothy Parker did an uncredited rewrite of the script.  Product placement in the film included several brands of cigarette, and Coca-Cola.  Potter, the greedy banker, originally sent attack dogs after George’s brother.  The film didn’t make any money in its original run at theaters, either (in fact, it lost money.)  And an FBI memo tried to link the film with communist sympathizers for “discrediting bankers.”  Now, since Hollywood is enamored of sequels, it’s surprising in one way that it hasn’t happened (although a guy who did commercials for Coke and Budweiser tried.)  The daunting thing about a sequel is not merely coming up with a script, but finding an actor who could create enough magic on screen to avoid being laughed at in comparison with Stewart.  A few actors that might pull it off are Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeff Bridges, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Sean Penn.  I suggest making it a comedy with a heart of gold, like Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  George’s son is sitting in Zuccotti park on Christmas eve, homeless since losing his job and his house foreclosure.  He meets a lady who just quit her job as a broker, leaving with inside information about shady dealings at Goldman Sachs.  She’d signed a confidentiality agreement, and now someone is following her.  Distrustful of the NY Times, she is looking for an editor at Adbusters at the rally, and mistook George Jr. for her contact to publish what she has.  Then she is grabbed by two men and taken toward a black van.  George Jr. intervenes to rescue her, and they go on the run.  When they go to Kinkos to digitize the files she has, the black van appears.  She calls Adbusters, but neither the magazine which began OWS nor WikiLeaks can afford to supply them with hot dogs, much less hotel rooms. . . although there’s a safe house in eastern Long Island, if they can make it.  A road trip unfolds, through suburban neighborhoods festooned with For Sale signs.  They get lost and can’t find the house, and end up being chased to the beach house of a Hollywood producer in Montauk, who is looking for actors to star in his It’s a Wonderful Life sequel under the working title Occupy Bedford Falls.  With new material, the producer is now torn between movie and documentary.

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