Generally, It’s a Wonderful Life is a joyful Christmas movie. Yes, it gets quite dark, but that’s all in service of a stirring message of why we all matter in life. A particular scene left a mark on one of the cast, though, since they ended up actually bleeding while it was shot.
If you’re unaware, the family movie concerns a man, George Bailey, who contemplates ending his life near Christmas. An angel intervenes, and shows him what life would be like if he’d never existed. In a flashback, Robert J Anderson played the young George Bailey to James Stewart’s adult version, and there’s a scene where he gets talking to from a pharmacist, Mr Gower.
According to Anderson, H B Warner, who portrays Mr Gower, might have gotten a bit too into the moment. “He actually bloodied my ear,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1996. “My ear was beat up, and my face was red and I was in tears… I didn’t know what we were building for. H B was perfect. He reached the crescendo.”
Warner may have gotten results in his performance, but that doesn’t mean he was unrepentant. “At the end when it was all over, he was very lovable,” Anderson remembered. “He grabbed me and hugged me, and he meant it.”
Anderson starred in several drama movies through-out the ’40s and ’50s before switching to behind-the-scenes roles in production during adult life. This led to him contributing to various TV series, as well as classic action movie Heat and science fiction movie Demolition Man.
Directed by Frank Capra, It’s A Wonderful Life struggled to find an audience theatrically, but broadcast and home media has ensured its legacy. Have a look at our list of the best Netflix Christmas movies for more festive choices!