Linda Maye Adams

The Effects of War (A Christmas and Hollywood story)


I always like to read the behind the scenes of movies and TV series.  I’m not interested in back biting or childish antics of actors, but the personal side of working in a creative environment.

Sometimes even war affects that, like in one of the best known Christmas movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which starred Jimmy Stewart.  Mr. Stewart had just come back from World War II, after serving as a pilot and suffering from PTSD (probably called shell shock then).

When he came back, he struggled to find roles and couldn’t figure out where he fit. I think that’s the case for a lot of veterans, because we come back and everyone’s a stranger to us.  Even the world we lived it looks very different.

And there’s anger.  I remember that when I came back.  It was a weird, unfocused anger.  That turns up in the movie, too:

There’s a scene in the movie where he questions his sanity and he’s got this wild look about him. That’s one scene that really struck me, watching it on the big screen. And the other scene that always made me uncomfortable, but now means so much more to me, is when he’s in his living room and he’s throwing things and screaming at his kids — and his wife and children look at him like, “Who is this man? Who is this monster?” And that is so reflective of what millions of families faced, looking at these strangers who came back from the war with this rage. Stewart played it beautifully. He just lets it out.

Read the article and then watch the movie again.  I know I will.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for posting this, Linda. That is one of my favorite Christmas movies and it’s fascinating to hear what Stewart went through both in the war and after. And it is clear that It’s a Wonderful Life was a turning point for him. I looked him up on IMDb and after that film he was a very busy actor.

    I hope the movie’s happy ending helped him in finding his own happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like that line “the childish antics of actors.” That kind of article–or memoir–is boring!

    Liked by 1 person

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