capra moves up in my book everytime i see one of his films. based purely on the films i’ve seen i would say that he’s probably the filmmaker i would most like to be friends with. i love film noir, it’s my favorite genre, but capra, who is one of my ten favorite directors, makes what can only be described as anti-noir films. something like it’s a wonderful life gets quite dark, as does this film to a lesser extent, but, in the end, becomes so uplifting and life-affirming that it really is the polar opposite of the fatalism that pervades the noir genre. walter huston performs perfectly here both sides of his character’s arc. gleaming and happy in beginning and end, sullen and maudlin after he finds out the news about his wife, and inspired and inspiring when he’s leading the bank through its toughest time.
in addition to making great personal films about individuals, capra makes films about society and people in general. i honestly think that people throughout the world could relate to his films. even though they’re about americans during the depression in small towns (or whatever), there is a common humanity that underlies his films that people across cultures could likely relate to. feelings of isolation like the ones huston and stewart and cooper feel in this and it’s a wonderful life and mr. deeds goes to town. desires to be part of something larger, etc. they all bond us. great stuff from a master.