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"It's a Wonderful Life" Deconstructed

December 15, 2006

Tags Media and Culture

Gary "plastics, baby, plastics!" North discusses George Bailey's Road to Monetary Perdition where "the buffalo gals have come out at night to vote by the light of the moon."

In Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!, North describes the reasons for its importance, the message of forgiveness, and the implications of fractional reserve banking.

The Guardian has called it the "most inspirational film" ever.

Time magazine centers in on the pivotal scene where George's brother Harry toasts: "To my brother George. The richest man in town."

But, then there is a darker side. Rather than merely "Capra-corn," something deeper lurks beneath the film. According to one source, Capra's mother lost her house to bankers after his father's death and was thus eager to make the bankers the villain in his movies.

Off screen, a 1947 FBI memo branded the film subversive and "a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers."

And, then there is the claim of Jimmy Stewart as FBI informant in Michael Munn's Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend which refers to testimony from Stewart's ex-wife, Gloria Hatrick McLean, who claims that J. Edgar Hoover recruited the right-wing Stewart to spy on his Hollywood friends, including Frank Capra, in the name of anti-communism.

Finally, Salon tackles the most important question of all in its analysis of Pottersville vs. Bedford Falls in All Hail Pottersville! "The 'bad' town...jumps and jives 24/7 with hot bars and cool chicks -- while 'wholesome' Bedford Falls is a claustrophobic snooze."

You can even watch it right now to decide for yourself courtesy of Google Video.

My thanks to Metafilter.com for a few of the links.

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