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September 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Doug Riblet <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 2 Sep 1993 01:39:00 CDT
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Don Eisen writes:
> In all of this discussion, you've overlooked the obvious. Frank
> Capra did it in spades in "It's a Wonderful Life."
I'm not sure I would consider these to be "flashforwards" exactly.
If you are referring to the sequences in which Clarence
shows George what life would have been like without his having been
born, I think it would be more accurate to term these "alternate
timelines" or some such thing.
Overall, I don't recall any scene in the film which depicts a point in
story time, either in George's "real" life or in the alternate version
that Clarence shows him, which occurs AFTER the present day on which
the film's plot begins (presumably Dec. 24, 1946). In the first part
of the film, there are a number of flashbacks to George's earlier life,
not always arranged chronologically, but I don't think you could call
any of these "flashforwards."  The alternate timeline scenes which
Clarence shows George all represent life in Pottersville/Bedford Falls
as it would be on that same night (12/24/46).  At least that is the
way that I have always understood the film.
I may well be missing something obvious here.  If so, someone
please follow up.
Doug Riblet
U. of Wisconsin -- Madison