Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Seasonal Post

The trailer fairly drips with sugar. Everything, but everything, is wonderful. Better still it is produced by Liberty films. Folk are good. Folk are folk. Folksy folk are particular good folk. Folk support folk. Folk may occasionally lynch folk but they do it for the best of folksy reasons. Volk may even exterminate non-folk. Folk and volk hang together.

And yet.

Following on from Passport to Pimlico, it's a natural transit to It's a Wonderful Life (1946), a film that, despite everything above, does bring out the sentimentalist in me to a degree you would not believe. It's Dickens really and 'God bless us all, every one' but there I am gently sniffling like a phlegm-bedizened dotard, deeply embarrassed at myself.

Dickens tunnels out of darkness and so does Capra. Here is a nice New York Times clip-essay by A. O. Scott, pointing out the dark bits. Recession? Run on the bank? Hello from Pottersville.

It is only the darkness that makes it bearable, the sense that Pottersville is altogether more terrible than Bedford Falls. That and the hope that kindness is possible. One clings to that because, it is after all, not impossible. It happens. It has happened. It is a part of the field of human possibility. It is not entirely impossible that if you treat folk right, folk will treat you right back. What else are we supposed to think, M La Rochefoucauld?

What we take for Generosity, is very often no other than Ambition well dissembled, that scorns mean Interests, only to pursue greater. (CCXLVII)

Often. Not always, squire. Pass the mulled wine.


James Hamilton said...

Worth mentioning that the film is available entire on Google Video. Potterville I mean, not Pimlico.

George S said...

Ach, it's Potterville. Pottersville sounds faintly South African. Or Potter's Wheel.

James Hamilton said...

If Pottersville sounds South African, then Pimlico sounds like some kind of spicy continental sausage.