Director: Roy Del Ruth
The handling of media in regards to its availability in any format is such a weird animal. As is the impact of media long after the media originally played and to whom.
It's a Wonderful Life famously did mediocre box office (released *after* Christmas in January for some reason). Contemporary critics shrugged it off as sappy (it is, but...), and it fell into public domain access to become a holiday staple as the movie was cheap to show. Repeated viewings and a new appreciation of the film eventually found the film its audience. And, of course, now It's a Wonderful Life is *the* American holiday media. Heck, I have a poster for it in my stairwell I see several times per day.
I only recently heard of It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947), which I chalked up to the fact it didn't star anyone I really knew (except Alan Hale Jr. in a supporting part). But it seems the movie just basically disappeared for 20 years, from 1990-2010. For me, personally, those were kind of some big years there as I was doing legwork looking for new old films. Why did it disappear? I have literally no idea. But I can tell you, unless there's a community of film nerds clamoring for a film, the studios may not care. The catalog may just be sitting there ready for exploitation, but most of the audience for movies would rather see something brand new but terrible than black and white, but excellent.