It's A Wonderful Life
DIRECTOR: FRANK CAPRA
CAST: JAMES STEWART, DONNA REED, LIONEL BARRYMORE
Few American studio era films are more familiar—so how is it that the actual experience of sitting down to watch It’s a Wonderful Life is consistently surprising? Each time, Capra’s film manages to reveal new shadings of quiet desperation in its depiction of small-town U.S.A., and its conclusion always arrives as a real revelation, a sudden blissful explosion of commonweal and goodwill to save George Bailey, a part that could only be played by Jimmy Stewart, perched precisely between the innocence of his 1930s roles and the anxiety of many of his best ‘50s parts.