"It's a Wonderful Life does, in fact, exhibit tell-tale symptoms of a belated liberal populism of the 1930s, whether or not the Committee knew that Clifford Odets and Dalton Trumbo, among others, had worked on the screenplay. Stewart here plays George Bailey, a banker who succeeds his father as head of a benevolent mortgage company that alone keeps the town of Bedford Falls out of the grip of the property and lending monopolies of Mr Potter, the evil tycoon played by Lionel Barrymore. One of Bailey's projects is a co-operative low-income housing development for working-class families; Potter's wish to eradicate that symbol of collective hope is a significant strand of the plot. Stewart, whose politics were conservative, never failed to cite George Bailey as the part in which he took the most pride, and the film's box-office failure, which he put down to the insipid postwar taste for nerveless domestic comedies, rankled with him to his last days."Sob.
Updated: 16/12/2006 Happy Christmas Metafilter readers. Whilst you're here, you might like to take a look at Review 2006, which is the blog's big event this year (and even contribute a question -- you'll see what I mean).