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Blu-ray Review: It’s a Wonderful Life: 75th Anniversary Edition

November 23, 2021

By John Corrado

Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and Paramount is honouring the occasion with a new Blu-ray edition. The film, of course, tells the story of George Bailey (James Stewart) who is visited by an angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) on Christmas Eve to remind him not to throw his life away, and it’s a personal favourite of mine.

This release follows in the footsteps of the 4K Steelbook that was put out last year. The new packaging is the main selling point of this two-disc set, which includes both black-and-white and colourized versions of the film on separate Blu-rays, along with a selection of ten exclusive recipe cards from the Insight Editions book It’s a Wonderful Life: The Official Bailey Family Cookbook tucked into the case.

The Blu-rays themselves are held in DigiBook-type case, with a plastic tray for the discs glued on one side and a pocket for the recipe cards on the other, and an image from the film that is visible when the discs are removed. The “DigiBook” tucks in the side of a cardboard outer box, with the same artwork on the front and back of both. There is tasteful “75th Anniversary” branding above the title on the cover, and the inscription by Clarence on the back, which I do think is a very nice touch. The artwork also notably retains the grey, blue and silver colour scheme of previous editions.

I don’t think this is really enough of an upgrade to warrant a double dip for most buyers, unless you want the new packaging and recipe cards (which feature recipes “inspired by” the film and are truthfully a bit of an interesting tie-in, since Capra’s film isn’t exactly remembered as a big “food movie”). But it’s a fine release for collectors or completists, while doubling as a nice gift set for those looking to own a copy of the film on Blu-ray who might not have one yet.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The disc includes three very good archival featurettes, ported over from the 4K Ultra HD release. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package.

• Restoring a Beloved Classic (13 minutes, 3 seconds)

• Secrets from the Vault (22 minutes, 11 seconds)

• It’s a Wonderful Wrap Party (8 minutes, 4 seconds)

It’s a Wonderful Life: 75th Anniversary Edition is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 130 minutes and rated G.

Street Date: November 16th, 2021

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