Tags: its a wonderful life | communist | propaganda | fbi

FBI Thought 'It's a Wonderful Life' Was Communist Propaganda

FBI Thought 'It's a Wonderful Life' Was Communist Propaganda
Greg Barna looks at the marquee of the Strand Theater in downtown Seymour, Connecticut. (Brian A. Pounds/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 21 December 2017 03:04 PM

One of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time was once seen by the FBI as obvious anti-American propaganda that pushed the Communist agenda.

"It's a Wonderful Life," the popular Yuletide drama directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, is considered a holiday classic and is viewed by millions around the world every year at Christmastime.

Stewart plays George Bailey, an upstanding small-town banker who learns what life would have been like if he'd never been born after he unwittingly gets snared in a mistaken case of bank fraud. As he mulls suicide, a wise angel named Clarence shows how his presence is vital to the people of Bedford Falls.

Soon after the movie was released in 1946 by RKO Radio Pictures, the FBI took an interest in it, sociologist John Noakes, wrote in Film History, published by the Indiana University Press.

In a report titled "Communist Infiltration into the Motion Picture Industry," a special agent in the FBI's Los Angeles office "conceded that the film was 'very entertaining' but also identified what they considered a malignant undercurrent in the film," Noakes said.

And "working closely with industry informants," the FBI concluded the filmmakers used "common tricks" used by Communists to inject propaganda into the film, specifically the trashing of "values or institutions judged to be particularly American."

Those "tricks," as reported by Smithsonian Magazine, include the character of "the capitalist banker, Mr. Potter, [who] is portrayed as a Scroogey misanthrope" – glorifying "values or institutions judged to be particularly anti-American or pro-Communist."

Also cited were the Oscar-nominated film's themes of depression and existential crisis, "an issue that the FBI report characterized as a 'subtle attempt to magnify the problems of the so-called 'common man' in society," according to The Smithsonian.

According to The Washington Post, the FBI claimed two of the film's screenwriters, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, "were very close to known Communists and on one occasion in the recent past . . . practically lived with known Communists and were observed" eating lunch every day with them.

The federal agency also claimed the movie "deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters," The Post said.

But the FBI's conclusions didn't go far.

It submitted its findings to the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was created to ferret out groups and individuals with Communist ties. But the committee declined to take action and the film was allowed to continue to be screened.

In a 1946 interview, Capra said his movie promoted "the individual's belief in himself" and that he made it "to combat a modern trend toward atheism."

"It's a Wonderful Life," which also stars Henry Travers, Lionel Barrymore, Gloria Grahame and Beulah Bondi, is considered the best Christmas film of all time by the movie-review website Rotten Tomatoes, which calls it "the holiday classic to define all holiday classics."

It will be aired Sunday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC-TV.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
US
One of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time was once seen by the FBI as obvious anti-American propaganda that pushed the Communist agenda.
its a wonderful life, communist, propaganda, fbi
504
2017-04-21
Thursday, 21 December 2017 03:04 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved