Posted 22 January 2012 - 12:49 PM
Definitely It's a Wonderful Life.
The holiday ritual of watching the movie has probably robbed it of some of its force. The movie is not only darker than is generally supposed, but also very frank in its treatment of family relationships (e.g. sibling rivalry, the fraught relationship between father and son). And the movie is especially frank in its treatment of the intimate relationship between man and woman.
For instance, there's a wonderful moment in the film where George arrives at the Granville House the night of his honeymoon. It's raining, and George enters the threshhold of the house, where he is greeted by Mary, wearing an apron and fixing up dinner. There's a POV shot from George's perspective: the camera pans to an open door, through which George glimpses laid out on the bed his pajamas and Mary's nightgown. The scene would be remarkable enough if it stopped here, with its delicate promise of sex. But the scene doesn't fade to black immediately. The camera registers George and Mary's expressions: George's astonishment, and Mary's care and solicitude. To use a cliche, the scene isn't about sex so much as the emotions which go along w/ sex, and this makes the scene very intimate indeed.