Directed by: Frank Capra
Starring: Donna Reed, Henry Travers, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
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George Bailey: This is a very interesting situation!
When George is giving Violet the character reference and loaning her money, the pipe suddenly disappears from George's mouth.
The opening credits list a copyright date of 1947, but distributor RKO rushed IAWL into theaters December 20 1946, to replace 'Sinbad the Sailor' whose Technicolor prints were not ready. It went into general release January 1947. The rush probably cost Capra and his partners their indie studio Liberty Films, whose first production opened in a record blizzard back east and failed to make back its money; it also wound up losing out at the Oscars against a powerful postwar drama 'The Best Years of Our Lives' rather than facing a much weaker Oscar field in 1947. Then again, confusion over its copyright date seems to have allowed it to slip into public domain for about 20 years from 1973, leading to its constant (cost-free) play at Christmas time, cementing its reputation as America's favorite holiday movie.