My take on It's a Wonderful Life goes something like this: it's a nightmare--poor Stewart, wanting to get away, and the movie just wears him down, wears him down. Finally, he's shown the fundamental error of his ways, and the brainwashed soul just gives in and resigns himself--happily, which is the most chilling detail of all--to being part of a Hallmark Holiday Greeting Card moment.
Forever and ever, amen.
Stanley Kubrick should have remade this.
ted fontenot: (Bailey) ultimately chooses not to
I know I'm not in the majority on this, but I thought he made choices, plenty of choices, and he was never happy with them. I think he would have done something about it (and I don't mean jump a bridge--I think that's the one off-key note in the whole picture; it would have been easier to just skip town like he's always wanted to do), but that damned angel comes down and torments him with an extended brainwashing sequence that nearly beats the one in the original Manchurian Candidate for nightmarishness, at the end of which he comes out squeaky clean, almost ready for a Disney feature.
ted fontenot: As for Kubrick remaking It's a Wonderful Life, would that be like when Bart and Lisa found the cache of alternate versions of some old movies? In the Casablanca one, Rick and Ilsa get married with Conrad Veidt and Claude Rains throwing rice as they exit the church. Another has the ominous title It's A Wonderful LIfe--The Killer Spree Ending.
I keep imagining this sort of thing happening fifteen minutes after the end credits roll.