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Film / It's a Wonderful World

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A 1939 Screwball Comedy/mystery film directed by W. S. Van Dyke II, starring Claudette Colbert and Jimmy Stewart.

Guy Johnson (Stewart) is a fugitive private detective whose client, Willie Heyward, was framed for the murder of a glamourous Spanish singer, Dolores Gonzalez. Willie’s wife Vivian and her lover are really the ones who committed the murder, in order to get $10 million out of Willie's insurance once he gets capital punishment. Consequently, Guy is indicted for hiding Willie but escapes after he finds a clue in a newspaper; turns out that Vivian's long-lost husband, who she thought died in Australia, is alive and has evidence to frame her.

Guy is resolved to find this lost husband and prove Willie’s innocence. Unfortunately, he runs into “poetess” Edwina Corday (Colbert), who decides to follow along with this tale of intrigue.

Not to be confused with It's a Wonderful Life, despite the similar title and the presence of Jimmy Stewart in the cast, or The World Ends with You, which has the exact same title in Japanese.

Tropes associated with this film:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Edwina to Guy. She sticks around him even when he clearly doesn’t want her there to cramp up his investigation, but she has a major crush and won’t leave.
    • She does become useful, though.
  • Ash Face: Happens to Guy during the play, unfortunately, and is played as a Blackface gag.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Is it any surprise?
  • Bound and Gagged: Guy ties up a boy scout and his leader since they were helping the police in finding Guy.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Edwina is kinda nuts.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every second answer by Guy is some snarky remark.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Guy is frustrated that he’s lost time with Edwina, and there’s probably a lot of "dicks" on his tail. Of course, "dick" being the old term for a detective or policeman.
  • Face Palm: Guy and the police chief both do this in back-to-back scenes, in reaction to the "help" received from other characters.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The police have Guy right under their nose and don’t recognize him because they're distracted by Edwina.
  • Insurance Fraud: The reason why Heyward’s wife and her lover have framed Willie. $10 million are at stake.
  • Jerkass: Guy is really a big jerk, but under the circumstances, it kind of makes sense.
  • Kubrick Stare: When Guy finds out Edwina saw him jumping out of the train with the policeman.
  • MacGuffin: The half-dime charm.
  • Mugged for Disguise: The Boy Scout leader.
  • Nerd Glasses: Part of Guy’s disguise is putting on a horribly thick version of these, stolen from the Boy Scout. He can barely see out of them.
  • Only in It for the Money: Guy says that for a $100 a week nothing is undignified even if it means taking care of an embarrassing client.
    • Guy only tries to exonerate Willie to get the $100,000 he promised him.
  • Police Are Useless: They lose Guy on the train while he’s handcuffed to one of the policemen. Eventually, they catch up to him but don't recognize him even though his fake accent is none too convincing.
  • Purple Prose: Edwina Corday is a poet (or as the movie says, poetess), and her poems are awful.
  • Title Drop: Edwina’s poem uses the title of the film.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In-Universe: Guy’s attempt at an English accent is atrocious, but manages to fool the police force.
    • Ditto with his Southern Accent.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Guy punches Edwina, and she’s not too happy about it.
  • Zany Scheme: Edwina pretends that she has just married Guy, and she tells the police and reporters that he’s an English actor.