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With "It's A Wonderful Life" Capra launched his independent studio, Liberty Films. He thought he had a guaranteed box office winner, with stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, and the power-to-the-people message that had made his pre-war films such successes. He was wrong. Capra never seemed to realize what a dark film he had made, nor understand that his populist message no longer resonated. This film would not acheive great success until decades later, when the divorce generation would (mis)read it as a tale of the redemptive virtues of the nuclear family. Richard and Shannon read it as a proof of just how influential noir's themes and visual style were in the wake of the war. Welcome to 1946--the year of suicide, and noir. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Direct download: OOTP_2005_12_15_IAWL.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 6:10 AM
Comments[3]

  • Obviously the notes of despair and emotional terror as well as many of the deep shadow images in the Bailey family\'s abadoned house display direct influences of noir.

    posted by: kitchen islands on 2007-06-04 07:09:00

  • Hello again, I am catching up on all of your cataloged podcasts. Just a quick note that James Gleason playing Henry Connell has the last line on Meet John Doe. I enjoyed this episode very much. I have always thought that this film was extremely dark. Keep up the good work!

    posted by: Shannon Bates Willis on 2006-06-20 14:46:00

  • Dear Clute and Edwards, Very impressed with this penetrating look at a film that I had not considered to be influenced by the noir genre but do now after your discussion. Certainly Capra draws on influences from Dicken\'s \"A Christmas Carol\" but takes it to another existential plane when George Bailey sees what the world would have been like had he never been born. Obviously the notes of despair and emotional terror as well as many of the deep shadow images in the Bailey family\'s abadoned house display direct influences of noir. But for a genre that seems to have crossed over and influenced more than just crime stories have you discussed some of the possible factors that established noir as a genre in the first place? Was it the emotional aftershock of WWII? (Even Jimmy Stewart\'s career took a decidedly more mature, dark turn in many of the post war Anthony Mann westerns as well as his work with Hitch in Rear Window and Vertigo). Do you think also that the sense of purposelessness at the birth of the nuclear age and the potential for mass annihilation was also a contributin factor? It seems to me that there must have been several cultural catalysts that gave rise to the movement. Not sure if you\'ve already discussed this in one of the podcasts. But would like to get your thoughts on it. All the best! And keep up the great work!! - Brian Watt

    posted by: Brian Watt on 2006-09-22 01:19:00

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