How ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Seized on an Urbanizing America’s Nostalgia for the Small Town

As mid-century Americans moved to cities, Cara’s film helped to idealize isolated white communities. It’s a Wonderful Life can be read through multiple prisms—as a Christmas movie, a family movie, a love story, an existential journey, and a celebration of the everyman. But Frank Capra’s movie invites audiences to consider it, first and foremost, as a[…]

Frank Capra’s Formula for Taming American Capitalism

It’s a Wonderful Life prescribed community and empathy as the remedy to a callous economic system. From the Gilded Age and until well into the Great Depression, Americans engaged in one of the most consequential debates in the country’s history: how best to address the economic inequities and societal problems stemming from industrialization, and relatedly,[…]

Frank Capra’s Not-So-Sunny Vision of American Life

Capra’s films are known for being upbeat and sometimes cheesy, but beneath the surface are rather dark stories of American corruption. Hollywood director Frank Capra was born in Sicily as Francesco Rosario Capra on May 18th, 1897. He settled in Los Angeles with his immigrant family at five years old, and reached his height of[…]