Greenpoint, October, 2015

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Taxi Movies (6)

Bert (Ward Bond), George, and Ernie (Frank Faylen)
Another Christmas movie? Or the Christmas movie? Yup, It's a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra's 1947 morality tale. It's also a taxi movie. In fact, Ernie's cab has a penchant for turning up at the big moments in George Bailey's life.  In the scene above, George is about to commence his round-the-world adventures; he tells, Ernie, "I'm a rich tourist today. How about driving me home in style?" In fact, it will be the beginning of a great evening for George and Mary Hatch, but one that won't last long as George gets the news his father has had a stroke. Ernie's cab also (almost) takes George and Mary out of town for their honeymoon trip--aborted by the Bank Crash--and later that night to the "Waldorf Hotel," aka, the old Granville Place.

One of the most poignant scenes in the movie takes place in Ernie's cab. George has been tossed from the bar and is desperate to get back to his old life. He flags down Ernie's cab and tells him take him to 320 Sycamore. Ernie's confused by why this stranger would want to go that fallen down wreck. George looks to Ernie for some affirmation that his old life exists:
A hack in Pottersville

George: Listen to me now. You are Ernie Bishop and you live in Bailey Park with your wife and kid. That's right isn't it?

Ernie: You seen my wife?

George: Seen your wife? I've been to your house a hundred times.

Ernie: Look, bud, what's the idea? I live in a shack in Potter's Field and my wife ran away three years ago and took the kid... And I ain't never seen you before in my life.

What else can George Bailey say except "Okay, step on it." Of course, it will be Ernie, out from behind the wheel, that reads the telegram from Sam Wainwright that gets George out of the red for good: "Heehaw and Merry Christmas" (in June).

No comments:

Post a Comment