Study Guide

It's a Wonderful Life Scene 11

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Scene 11

Scene 11

A High Body Count

  • Outside, George is mystified about how it says "Nick's" instead of "Martini's" over the bar.
  • Clarence explains that George has never existed. George realizes that Zuzu's petals and his wallet and everything that identifies him are gone.
  • Clarence says it's a chance to see what the world would be like without him.
  • George doesn't listen and says he's going home. He walks away.
  • As he walks through town, George sees that Bedford Falls has become Pottersville—an awful, gaudy, sleazy place. Just bars and nightclubs. Kind of like Las Vegas.
  • Someone tells him there's no Building and Loan; it went out of business years ago.
  • He sees Violet get thrown out of a club.
  • George gets in a cab driven by Ernie, who doesn't recognize him. Ernie tells him that his (Ernie's) wife ran away, and he lives alone in a shack.
  • At George's house, he sees that it's the abandoned, broken-down place it used to be. Clarence materializes inside and says this is what would have happened if George had never lived.
  • Bert the cop shows up and tries to arrest George, but Clarence bites Bert on the hand and then disappears as the cop tries to tackle and cuff him.
  • George goes to his mother's house, and she doesn't recognize him—she's running a boarding house, now.
  • She tells him Uncle Billy has been in an insane asylum ever since he lost his business.
  • George asks to see his brother, and his mother slams the door in his face. Her only son died years ago.
  • When George leaves, Clarence tells him it's amazing how one man's life affects so many other people's lives.
  • At the cemetery, they find Harry's grave.
  • Harry couldn't win the Medal of Honor or save soldiers on a WWII transport boat because George never saved him. He fell through the ice as a kid and died.
  • This is all freaking George out.
  • Clarence tells George that Mary never married; she's a librarian now.
  • (Librarians in old movies tend to be aging spinsters—a fate worse than death.)
  • George finds Mary leaving the library and asks if she remembers him.
  • She doesn't even recognize him and screams when he touches her.
  • A crowd of people gathers, and a policeman fires shots at George as he runs away.

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