Sean Herriot, host of Morning Air on Relevant Radio recently read a bit from an interesting article at www.GodSpy.com. He made some interesting connections between George Bailey in Frank Capra’s movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the Book of Tobit in the bible. Both are about men struggling with the meaning of life. Both ask God for help and in both stories an Angel is sent. Of course it was Clarence in the movie – and the Angel Raphael in Tobit. Frank Capra it turns out was a devout Catholic – so it is a very good possibility that the movie had some basis in the Tobit story. Both are redemption stories. I must admit I’ve not recently read Tobit – but I’ll need to take a closer look!
The article is here: http://www.godspy.com/culture/The-Gospel-According-to-Frank-Capra-by-Rod-Bennett.cfm
In the article the author recalls first seeing the movie as a troubled 14-year old…
“Let me urge you rather to listen to Capra. Listen to him with wide open eyes and wide open hearts if you can. Pretend you are an unhappy, ignorant fourteen-year-old on two weeks Christmas vacation, if it seems to help. The next time It’s A Wonderful Life comes on TV watch it and try to imagine, if only for 129 minutes, that it hasn’t been conclusively proven to be nothing but “a simple figment of Pollyanna platitudes.” Pretend for a little while that you don’t know as an established fact that this world of dignity, destiny, and guardian angels is too good to be true. After all, what can it hurt to try Capra’s faith on for size for an hour or two, just to see how it feels? Because Capra insists that if we will give him a chance he will prove his case.
“Yes, it’s true that if we hitch our wagon to George Bailey’s star we will be crucified with him and buried under $8,000 worth of bitter defeat. But the director insists that if we are crucified with him then we will be raised with him. If we share in the Capra hero’s dark night of the soul, we will be rescued by hard evidence and the fruit that will have sprung up from the seeds of faith he has planted. George’s $8,000 defeat will be swallowed up in Bedford Falls’ avalanche of victory poured into that old hat passed around in his drafty old house on Christmas Eve—and by a telegram from London—
“HEARD YOU WERE IN TROUBLE—STOP—MY OFFICE INSTRUCTED TO ADVANCE YOU UP TO $25,000—STOP—HEE HAW AND MERRY CHRISTMAS. SAM WAINWRIGHT.
“Yes, George Bailey, there is a Santa Claus. You have proved it to us now. You were right. You were right all along. It is a wonderful life. You have weathered the storm and we who went along for the ride have been taught the Gospel…”To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
“Now, only now, can we have our happy ending, perhaps the happiest in Hollywood history.”