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This is the all-time great, curl-up-on-the-sofa-with-a-cup-of-tea movie. Not only is it beautifully photographed, but it also contains enough emotional strength to hold your attention for all of its two-hour running time.
I wasn't able to get reasonably straight about it for quite a while. I still think it has a good deal of charm and quality, enough natural talent involved in it to make ten pictures ten times as good, and terrific vitality or, rather, vigor.
Capra is an old-time movie craftsman, the master of every trick in the bag, and in many ways he is more at home with the medium than any other Hollywood director. But all of his details give the impression of contrived effect.