Jimmy Stewart

By: Peggy Nelson
May 20, 2009


JIMMY STEWART (1908-97) endlessly reprised Everyman… yet his most iconic films are perfect set pieces of horror. Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, supposedly a Christmas classic, is a vicious exposé of the underpinnings of capitalism. In it, Business As Usual presents a value proposition of such incoherence, in both economic and human terms, that the only rational course left to Everyman is suicide. And in Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Stewart plays a retired detective — a nice, normal guy who’s spent his adult life coming up with convincing explanations and tidy solutions. But he has one little problem… which widens into a fault line revealing an abyss of phobia and obsession. Soon, Everyman has blundered his way to the frontier of rationality, and his world has become an endless feedback loop that mocks his, and our, attempts at escape.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Cher, Margery Allingham.

READ MORE about members of the Partisan Generation (1904-13).


HiLo Heroes, Movies