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James Agee, who reviewed films for The Nation between the years 1942 and 1948, was charmed by the warmth of It's a Wonderful Life and believed that it was an admirable and well-crafted piece of film making, yet nonetheless, he came away feeling like he'd been sold a bill of goods and rejected the movie primarily because he believed that films created in the Atomic Age should reflect the cynicism that created the era:

"Yet at its best, which is usually inextricable with its worst, I feel that this movie is a very taking sermon about the feasibility of a kind of Christian semi-socialism, a society founded on affection, kindliness, and trust, and that its chief mistake or sin --an enormous one - is its refusal to face the fact that evil is intrinsic in each individual, and that no man may deliver his brother, or make agreement unto God for him."

This article appears on this site by way of a special agreement with The Nation.

Additional articles about It's a Wonderful Life can be read here


A Leftist Review of <i>It's a Wonderful Life</i> (The Nation, 1947)

A Leftist Review of <i>It's a Wonderful Life</i> (The Nation, 1947)

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