Line












frank capra
(1897-1991)

biography
dates
filmography
books
dvds
posters
videos

it's a wonderful life
it happened one night

cary grant
james stewart

jean cocteau
alfred hitchcock
fritz lang

madeleine carroll
grace kelly
margaret lockwood

beauty & the beast
cabinet of dr caligari
the third man

i. adjani
u. andress
f. barber
b. bardot
e. beart
j. bisset
julie christie
b. dalle
josette day
m. dietrich
britt ekland
g. garbo
rita hayworth
a. hepburn
m. monroe
m. sologne

capra


capra

f r a n k   c a p r a ' s  :  a m e r i c a  ]


"Behind every sucessful man there stands an astonished woman."
- Frank Capra


biography | dates | filmography | books | dvds | posters | videos
capracapracapracapracapracapra
it's a wonderful life | it happened one night
jean cocteau | alfred hitchcock | fritz lang


    f r a n k   c a p r a  d a t e s

  • Name: Frank Capra
  • Born: 18 May 1897
  • Birth place: Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
  • Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
  • Spouse:
      Lucille Reyburn (1932 - 1984) (her death)
      Helen Howell (1922 - 1927) (divorced)
  • Died: 3 September 1991, La Quinta, California, USA
  • Cause of death: Heart attack in his sleep

    capra


    f r a n k   c a p r a ' s  a m e r i c a n   d r e a m

    Capra was Hollywood's arch-populist: his films championed the typical American whom he believed to be endowed with innate goodness and wisdom and possessed of the inviolable right to seek happiness

      'I would sing the songs of the working stiffs, of the short changed Joes, the born poor, the afflicted. I would gamble with the long shot players who light candles in the wind, and resent with the pushed-around because of race or birth. Above all, I would fight for their causes on the screens of the world.'

    Sept. 2013: As part of photographing the covers and inner flaps of every book ever published, I've started the scans on Capra's books which can be viewed here. Just a few for the mo. but will be added to. If you have any photos of any Capra book covers from any part of the world why not e-mail (ihuppert5@aol.com) them to me and I'll put them up. The aim is to have a visual record of every Capra book ever published. Inner flaps and the publishers notes contain so much info about the book - I like to include at least the flap as well if possible. And your help makes it a lot easier. Or, if you prefer, you can send me your unwanted books and I can scan them. Any book, not just this author. Address: Paul Page, 5 High St., South Norwood, London SE25 6EP, UK. If you are thinking of chucking those books out then this would make a perfect alternative home for them.

    ----------

    Frank Capra, when writing these words in 1971 about downtrodden workers ('the working stiffs') was not just repeating the flattering comments critics had made about his films. While other successful Hollywood directors in the Thirties were content to coast along on the charms of stellar performances and glitteringly unreal plots, Capra made a clear stand for films with a recognizable basis in the world the audience lived in, or more accurately, they wanted to live in. These were films that - along with the romantic clinches, chases and slapstick - provided idealism.

    A dream comes true
    Capra himself was born poor and pushed around, one of seven peasant children in Scily in 1897. By 1903 the bulk of the family emigrated to Los Angeles, and Capra began his determined climb up the ladder of success in the fabled land of opportunity. The Fable in his case proved spectacularly true: Capra even writes that he thought of his films as one way of saying 'Thanks' To America, its people and history. In the Twenties he became a gagman for Mack Sennett and directed two celebrated films - The Strong Man (1926) and Long Pants (1927) - starring the baby-faced comic Harry Langdon. Langdon's ego subsequently got the better of his talent and his career declined; Capra's ego and talent fortunately developed at the same rate. Once ensconced at Columbia - the Poverty Row studio ruled by Harry Cohn, a man of drive, independence, and scant tact - Capra's career shot upwards. He cannily leapt at subjects with 'headline' appeal - an airship's crash in the antarctic in Dirigible (1931), a bank crisis in American Madness (1932).

    capra

    In this last film Capra was warming to his theme and his technique. In the chaos of the depression the bank president, played by Walter Huston, appeals to the virtues of good neighbourliness against the vices of blind self-interest. Thus encouraged, his customers earnestly rush to return the money they had previously rushed to take out. But everyone was rushing: beginning with this film Capra deliberateley speeded up the dialogue, made speeches overlap, cut out all the dawdling camera fades and character entrances. The dialogue itself was written by Robert Riskin, a former playwright who collaborated with Capra throughout the Thirties and had an acute ear for the twists and turns of everyday speech. He also shared many of Capra's own beliefs about the rights of America's ordinary citizens.

    capraThe delectable It Happened One Night (1934) provided another stepping stone for Capra. He had long set his sights on the Oscars, Hollywood's ultimate accolade of success,and with this comedy he secured an armful for himself, his stars, and his writer. He also achieved a new spontaneity in his direction : scenes between Clark Gable, the snappy newspaperman, and Claudette Colbert, the runaway heiress he pursues first for a story and later for love, had an almost improvisational ease. And Capra had now departed decisively from the drawing-room setting of early comedies like Platinum Blonde (1931). The action takes place in a cross-country bus, along the highways, inside the motels. The haughty Colbert character can't but be humanized by the experience; even her father, played by Walter Connolly, proves to be a plutocrat with a heart of gold, allowing her to run away all over again with honest, down-to-earth Gable rather than marry a dull,wealthy aviator.

    capra

    Good Deeds
    Elements of the Gable character - his uncomplicated decency, his fondness for homely pursuits like dunking doughnuts in coffee or giving piggybacks - reappear in bolder form with Gary Cooper's Longfellow Deeds in Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936). Deeds is catapulted by an uncle's inheritance from small-town peace in Mandrake Falls to New York turmoil. His simple habits - tuba playing, writing greeting card verses - provoke scorn and derision, while lawyers, creditors and opera committees jump on him for every penny. He finally puts his money to work for the country's impoverished farmers in a self-help scheme, giving them a cow, a horse, some seed and some land. The cream of New York society responds by declaring him insane; the subsequent courtroom trial provides a perfect setting for Capra and Riskin's brilliantly engineered debate on the values of American life.

    capra Road to Utopia
    Capra's next film, Lost Horizon (1937), may at first glance seem an unlikely venture. But this lavish fantasy, based on James Hilton's book provided an opportunity for the director and writer to create an abstract version of the Utopia their Longfellow Deeds and other good citizens were working towards. The Utopia of Shangri-La is located in a Himalayan Monastery, where all strife and all old age have been eradicated. But without strife, without Capra's usual endearing characters and rushing crowds, (the benign lamas walk very slowly), the film's visual and dramatic interest sinks dangerously low.

    Capra quickly worked himself back towards his top form with an adaption of anoher popular success - Kaufman and Hart's play You Can't Take It With You, filmed in 1938. Typically, the adaption strengthens the characters and the beliefs they espouse. Anthony P.Kirby (Edward Arnold), the man who wants to take as much as of it with him as possible, is made more of a grasping, villainous ogre, while those or whom money and worldly goods mean nothing - the Vanderhof family and assorted guests (like the iceman who delivers ice and just stays) - are made less whimsical, more forthright. And as in It Happened One Night, the obstructive plutocrat is finally humanized, joining in the music-making in the Vanderhof's home grown Shangri-La, joyfully playing 'Pollywolly-doodle' on a harmonica.

    With Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)Capra returned to the proven formula of Deeds, but deployed it over a larger canvas. Now his unassuming all-American hero was tilting not just at snobbish, money grabbing New York society - but at the whole government machine in Washington DC. Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), pet shop owner and Boy Scouts leader, is voted to the Senate on the strength of his gullibility (there is a pocket-lining deal coming up involving the construction of a dam). His bird-calls causes as much laughter as Longfellow Deeds' poetry, yet he proves a sterner customer than his Party overlords anticipated. He proposes building a National Boys Camp on land that would be flooded by the dam, and argues its merits - along with much else - in a filibuster speech lasting almost a day: a clear parallel with Deed's courtroom trial.

    capra Government of the people
    Capra had pushed his concern for the rights of 'the working stiffs...the short-changed Joes' straight into the political arena with Mr Smith. Yet his own political position in his films was vague in the extreme - they would hardly have had such a wide success had it been otherwise. Their motivating beliefs were simple, naive even, but Capra's picture of America as a continent of small communities helping each other to prosperity and happiness held great attraction in the Thirties. This wasn't Roosevelt's vaunted New Deal, with its eloborate network of Government bodies guiding, marshalling, even creating work. Rather it was an Old Deal, the deal of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and other statesmen (duly mentioned and revered in the scripts) whose lives and beliefs showed the strengths of the pioneer spirit and individual initiative untrammelled by faceless authorities interfering from on high.

    As the decade came to a close, however, the threats to Capra's American dream became more perilous. As one critic has pointed out, even Capra couldn't stop Hitler's evil designs armed with a harmonica. And in Meet Joe Doe (1941) the ordinary man is almost defeated and duped out of existence. Long John Willoughby (Gary Cooper), a former baseball player, is publicized as an incarnation of the folk hero John Doe by a publisher and would-be President bent on fascist domination. When Willoughby learns he is just a pupper he decides to enact the suicide threat that sparked off the whole campaign - by falling to his death from the top of City Hall (at Christmas-time too!). Capra and Riskin found themselves in a quandary about the ending: their final choice, with Doe's supporters persuading him to carry on fighting for his ideals, fails to convince - though it is difficult to imagine what could bring this ambitious, garrulous, awkward film to a satisfactory conclusion.

    Liberty's last fling
    When Capra returned to feature films as an independent director-producer in 1946, after a notable career supervising the wartime documentary series Why We Fight, the hysteria that marred Meet Joe Doe had evaporated. But Capra's ideals were clearly no longer quite intact: George Bailey, the despairing, philanthropic hero of It's a Wonderful Life (1946), is brought to the point of suicide. And it takes divine intervention by an angel to save George (James Stewart) and show him what a grim, garish, materialistic town Bedford Falls would have become if he had never existed. For all its prolixities and whimsies, the film remains a stunning example of Capra's consummate technical skills and his unbounded love for small-town America. It is the last example, too, for after making the hectic State of the Union (1948) - with an election candidate involved in more political buccaneering - Capra's independent company Liberty Films was sold to Paramount, and Capra lost his liberty indeed...next page





    Frank Capra
    Collection
    4 Disc Set incl.
    It's A Wonderful Life, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, You Can't Take It With You and It Happened One Night
    UK Dvd Set in Stock





    James Stewart
    It's a Wonderful Life
    B&W & Colourized Versions
    UK Dvd Set in Stock





    James Stewart
    Collection
    4 Disc Set incl.
    Harvey, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Rear Window, It's a Wonderful Life
    UK Dvd Set in Stock




    Print
    James Stewart
    It's a Wonderful Life
    Cotton Canvas Print


    capra




    f r a n k   c a p r a   b o o k s  ]
    capracapracapracapracapracapra



    f r a n k   c a p r a   d v d s  ]
    capracapracapracapracapracapra



    f r a n k   c a p r a   v i d e o s  ]
    capracapracapracapracapracapra


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    biography | dates | filmography | books
    dvds | posters | videos
    capracapracapracapracapracapra
    it's a wonderful life
    jean cocteau | alfred hitchcock | fritz lang

Line













Frank Capra
It's A Wonderful Life
Nov. 12: 2 Disc Set with col & b/w versions + artcards & film poster
UK Dvd Set in Stock - Here is the only place in the Universe you are guaranteed to get the cards & poster - read more














Frank Capra
It's A Wonderful Life
Nov. 12: 2 Disc Set with col & b/w versions + artcards & film poster & canvas print
UK Dvd Set in Stock - Here is the only place in the Universe you are guaranteed to get the cards & poster - read more














Frank Capra
Collection
4 Disc Set incl.
It's A Wonderful Life, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, You Can't Take It With You and It Happened One Night
UK Dvd Set in Stock














James Stewart
Collection
4 Disc Set incl.
Harvey, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Rear Window, It's a Wonderful Life
UK Dvd Set in Stock
Tons of extras
The best Jimmy Stewart boxset ... ever!














James Stewart
It's a Wonderful Life
B&W & Colourized Versions
UK Dvd Set in Stock






















art store









links page









capra





























capra





























Print James Stewart
It's a Wonderful Life
Cotton Canvas Print





























capra





























capra





























capra





























capra





























capra





























capra



Page created by: ihuppert5@aol.com
Changes last made: 2012