The Battle Behind The Classic Movie
Screenwriter Frances Goodrich battles Frank Capra and the FBI for control of the beloved holiday movie, freedom, and a place for women screenwriters in Hollywood.
Wonderful: Beyond The Story - Caution! Spoiler Alert
For screenwriter Frances Goodrich, working on Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” was anything but wonderful. With the war just ended, Americans were trying to return to their old lives. For Frances, one of the few women screenwriters working in 1945 Hollywood, the battle has just begun, as she fights to get the movie made. Her husband and writing partner, Albert Hackett wants to return to New York City to write for the theater, which would end Frances' Hollywood writing career. She covers up his absence, and secretly writes without a man. Frank Capra, a forgotten man in Hollywood, suffering from depression, still wants to make his pre-war “capracorn” and is secretly giving names to the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee in order to save his own skin and his new studio. Frances and Albert's old friend Jimmy Stewart, returning from the war and suffering from PTSD, wants nothing to do with the fantasy of Hollywood. Frances has to convince him to do the picture if it is ever to be made. Close friends (and communist sympathizers) Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett constantly interrupt Frances’ writing as Lillian encourages her to write a radical picture about women claiming their rights, and Dash encourages Albert to spend his days drinking.