The Bureau Detested It’s a Wonderful Life
James Capra’s 1947 Christmas classic starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed must be one of the least controversial movies of all time, right? Not so fast. In the heyday of FBI chief J.Edgar Hoover’s crackdown on communist sympathizers in the United States, no threat, real or implied, went unnoticed. In a memo to “The Director,” Hoover’s assistant D.M. Ladd wrote that “the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture.” According to the memo, this kind of veiled anti-capitalist portrayal is a “common trick used by Communists [to]…malign the upper class.”
Check out our countdown of the best Christmas movies of all time!