It Happened One Christmas

1977

Comedy / Fantasy

5
IMDb Rating 6.0/10 10 1019 1K

Director

Top cast

Christopher Guest as Harry Bailey
Orson Welles as Henry F. Potter
Marlo Thomas as Mary Bailey Hatch
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1011.26 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 8
1.83 GB
1920*1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by redryan64 5 / 10

IT HAPPENED ONE Christmas; "It" being well intentioned, well made example of LEGALIZED Plagiarism, plain and simple!

We can all understand just why the practice of remaking certain movies was and will always be a common practice in Hollywood. During this time of year (December) we are treated to at least 6 o 8 different versions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas CAROL.

We can view as many version of this Dickens Classic as there items on a Chinese Restaurants Menu. Among other actors in the role, we have: Allastair Sim 1951 & 71, George C. Scott 1984, Patrick Stewart 1999, Kelsey Grammar 2004, Reginald Owen 1938 and Seymour Hicks 1935. Additionally from time to time we see special variety character productions, such as: MR. MAGOO's Christmas CAROL (UPA/NBC 1962), MICKEY's Christmas CAROL (Disney 1983) and THE MUPPET's Christmas CAROL (1992). And there are many others.

One can well understand all of this interest in doing, re-doing and re-re-doing a work of true classic literature, like the Dickens story. And being so widely known all around the World, ever since its being published December 19, 1843 in London, gives it a second reason. And being that the work is in public domain for some time and required no securing of screen rights, nor payment of any royalties, makes the best argument So brings us down to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) and this IT HAPPENED ONE Christmas (1977). And we have only one question to ask of Universal Television and the American Broadcasting Company; WHY??

A remake or even a rework is fair game. A remake being an all the way re-doing a story, like The 3 Musketeers, Last of the Mohicans or Moby Dick. A re-working is an act of taking certain the elements of the story to use in an otherwise storyline. This practice is quite common in the comedy field, especially the old short subjects. Take for example the following.

We have 3 different Hal Roach Studios' Laurel & Hardy Short Subjects. First we have ANGORA LOVE (silent, 2 reeler, 1929), next LAUGHING GRAVY (sound, 2 reeler, 1931) and THE CHIMP (sound, 3 reeler, 1932). Each is a story in a different setting, with a different set of circumstances. And yet, all films take a certain set of circumstances central to the plot line and crucial to the exercise of our funny bones. The re-worked bit of business is the Boys having to hide an animal of theirs from their Landlord. The animal progressively and chronologically changes from a Goat, to a Little Pet Dog and finally to a Chimpanzee.

So, just what is IT HAPPENED ONE Christmas? Would it be a remake? Or, how many vote for a re-work? Could it be "Neither of the Above"? Come on now, don't be shy, cast your vote.

All of you who voted for "Neither of the Above", go to the head of the class and get a Gold Star. The correct answer is that it is NEITHER! It's a plain and simple case of Plagiarism! Oh, they surely secured the rights to do the thing, but Lordy, it's a virtual Carbon-copy of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

But, enough of this foolishness. It's time to get down to reviewing the Story, without our giving away too much. So…….

OUR STORY………There is no original Story here. Just go and see IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE's page. Then, after changing George and Mary's Surnames and their family positions you'll have the idea. Right family roles get switched. That makes Mary Bailey Hatch (Marlo Thomas) the Breadwinner and George Hatch (Wayne Rogers) as a 1940's Mr. Mom.

And please, don't think that there wasn't a solid effort put out here by the former Documentary Film Oscar Nominee Director, Donald Wrye and his Crew. And an energetic community performance by the cast. As well as Miss Marlo Thomas and Mr. Wayne Rogers, the cast included: Orson Welles, Doris Roberts, Cloris Leachman, Barney Martin, Karen Carlson, Dick O'Neil, Cliff Norton and even Orson Welles.

Didja say Orson Welles? Hey, that gives me an idea for a new Made For TV Movie of the Week Special. We could "re-do" CITIZEN KANE (RKO 1941) as an "updated" TV Production. We could call it "WHERE'S ROSEBUD?"

Reviewed by SimonJack 5 / 10

Remake with reversed lead roles is just fair

"It Happened One Christmas" is very exact in copying the original film, "It's a Wonderful Life" of 1946. But, with one twist. And that is the reversal of the leading male and female roles. So, Marlo Thomas plays Mary Bailey, in place of James Stewart's George Bailey. She marries George Hatch, where Stewart's Bailey married Mary Hatch.

The original film soon became one of an unwritten list of movies that most people would think would never - or, should never be remade. And, indeed, no one to date has tried to remake "It's a Wonderful Life." It remains a holiday favorite movie shown over and over at year's end on television. Even nearly two decades into the 21st century, people still watch and enjoy that classic Christmas film.

So, the only thing to do, if one was a female star who wanted to make another "It's a Wonderful Life," was to change the lead characters - that is, reverse the roles, for a whole different film. And, that's what Marlo Thomas did with her own Daisy Productions company. To have any chance at success, of course, the film would have to tell pretty much the same story. That's because the Hollywood record of revising hit movies in remakes was not very good. But remakes that closely followed the stories of very popular films often could achieve some success just on the coattails of the original story.

Marlo Thomas does a fine acting job in this film. But her performance lacks the passion and range that James Stewart gives in his lead role. And another thing hanging over this reverse remake was matching a considerable cast of supporting players. In the original film, several characters are important parts of the story. Not only Uncle Billy, the angel Clarence, brother Harry, Mr. Gower, Bert, Ernie and Mrs. Bailey, but Mr. Potter. Even an actor with the stature of Orson Welles, couldn't come close to portraying the tension around the smirking and domineering tyrant, Mr. Potter, as played by Lionel Barrymore. Nor could any other supporting role come near to that as played in the original film.

Besides that, some of the changes that this TV film made with the role reversals seem strange and don't work very well. In the original film, George Bailey was rejected for the draft because of hearing loss in one ear that made him 4F. In this film, George Hatch actually goes off to war when he has three small children at home. Toward the end of the war, he returns seriously wounded and no one but wife Mary is at the train station to greet him. By then, his children are older, some of them probably not able to remember their dad, as Mary notes.

The original film of 1946 didn't need to make many cultural adjustments. The scenery, clothing, vehicles and customs were not that far removed even from the earliest scenes portrayed. But, "It Happened One Christmas" wasn't able to handle that challenge convincingly more than three decades later. While the sets were designed to reflect the late 1930s to early 1940s, the cast looked like people of the 1970s put into costumes of the 1940s. They frankly didn't look their parts for the age.

This film isn't a bad one, but it's not much more than fair. Perhaps, if "It's a Wonderful Life" had never been made, this movie would seem to be somewhat better. But with an icon like the original, one can't help but compare the stories, the times, the situations, the actors and the performances. And that's what relegates "It Happened on Christmas" to just a so-so film.

Because of those strange things in the role reversals noted above, and with no superb performances to match the many in the original film, the best one can do is to give this movie five stars.

Reviewed by activist_art 5 / 10

Weird enough to merit showing and DVD release

I saw "It Happened One Christmas" in about 1978, I think on Christmas Eve, while sitting alone waiting for my wife to get off work and join me for the holiday. I hadn't seen Marlo Thomas since the original airing of "That Girl" in the '60s. It was wierdly fun to see her on something, and I had never seen nor heard of Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." Later when I did see "It's a Wonderful Life," I immediately connected the story to that of "It Happened One Christmas," and thought it was scandalous how the original had been ripped off, and how geeky it was by comparison to the classic it had been "appropriated" from.

Today I wish I could find the knock-off on DVD. Now that I've seen Capra's original so many times, it would be fun to see the Marlo Thomas version again, if for no other reason than to bring back the nostalgic feeling of that evening that I first saw it. I remember that I was very touched by the story that night, geekiness of the treatment notwithstanding (or perhaps partly because of it!), and that it contributed to setting me up emotionally for a very special Christmas holiday with my spouse.

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