Reconsidering Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”

“I don’t care what your parents told you. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” that reassuring holiday spectacle, is really the most terrifying Hollywood film ever made.  […] “It’s a Wonderful Life” is about hunger. It’s about greed. It’s about the many ways a good man is stymied. Finally, it’s about George Bailey, whose decency prevents him even from killing himself. Though he wants to jump, he dives into the river to save another suicide, instead — the angel, it turns out, who has come to show George that his life has been wonderful after all, because human commerce is a web and as part of that web George has affected and saved thousands of people. To make this point, the angel famously shows George what the world would be like had he never been born, leading him back into town, which had been Bedford Falls but is now named after the treacherous banker who controls it: Pottersville.” — Rich Cohen, who, thanks to him, I’ll never be able to watch the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life again and not think it’s one of the most terrifying movies ever made.

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  • Lena January 5, 2011, 9:30 am

    Wow. What a lousy argument to distort Frank Capra's message. In his day some critics called his movies "Capracorn" because of the heavy-handedness of his message. And this movie is no exception. In It's a Wonderful Life, Capra points out, in a very obvious manner, that greed results in a lonely and unfulfilled life as in the villain, Mr. Potter. The most important things, again as the movie obviously point out, is family and friends, and friends that think so highly of you they will help you out no matter the situation. No hidden message, no argument for greed. In fact, quite the contrary. Woooo…scarey!

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