Christopher W. Shaw

'It's a Wonderful Life'... for bankers

Christmas movies provide a yearly opportunity to imagine a more caring society.  Among the favorites that are watched year after year, It's a Wonderful Life stands out for stressing the importance of banking to such a society.  The film's hero George Bailey is an honest and generous Main Street banker who has helped struggling working people achieve their dreams of homeownership.  Yet Bailey is on the brink of committing suicide before discovering just how much his life has meant to the local community. On this fateful night, an alternative future is revealed in which Bailey never existed, and his beloved hometown of Bedford Falls has fallen into the clutches of the greedy Henry Potter, owner of the town's largest bank and a man who cares nothing for the public welfare.  Without Bailey to finance the hopes and aspirations of his neighbors, Potter has created an unrecognizable town that is defined by corruption, slum housing, pawn shops, and seedy bars.

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