Cover image for Frank Capra : interviews
Title:
Frank Capra : interviews
Author:
Capra, Frank, 1897-1991.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jackson : University of Mississippi, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
lvi, 207 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781578066162

9781578066179
Format :
Book

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PN1998.3.C36 A3 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Few Hollywood directors had a higher profile in the 1930s than Frank Capra (1897Ð1991). He served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and of the Screen Directors Guild. He won three Academy Awards as best director and was widely acclaimed as the man most responsible for making Columbia Pictures a success.

This popularity was established and sustained by films that spoke to and for the times-- It Happened One Night , Mr. Deeds Goes to Town , Meet John Doe , and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . These replicated the nation's hopes and dreams for a national community. He worked with some of the brightest stars in Hollywood--James Stewart, Clark Gable, Jean Arthur, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Donna Reed, and Ann-Margret.

Capra's interviews express his connection to the national audience and explore his own story. He was a Sicilian immigrant boy who survived rough-and-tumble beginnings to become Hollywood's most bankable director. In reflecting on his life, almost every one of his films was a parable of acclaim verging on disaster. He spent much of the 1940s in uniform while making films for the War Department. Although Capra was an optimist, World War II and his series of Why We Fight films called his legendary optimism into question. His postwar film It's a Wonderful Life (1946) gave an answer to those questions with an astonishing directness Capra never equaled again.

In 1971 he published his autobiography, The Name Above the Title . Many of the interviews collected here come from this period when, as an elder statesman of motion picture art and history, he reflected on his long career. The interviews portray the Capra legend vividly and demonstrate why the warm relations between Capra and his audiences continue to inspire acclaim and admiration.

Leland Poague, a professor of English at Iowa State University, is the editor of Conversations with Susan Sontag (University Press of Mississippi). He is the author of Another Frank Capra and The Cinema of Frank Capra: An Approach to Film Comedy .


Summary

Few Hollywood directors had a higher profile in the 1930s than Frank Capra (1897Ð1991). He served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and of the Screen Directors Guild. He won three Academy Awards as best director and was widely acclaimed as the man most responsible for making Columbia Pictures a success.

This popularity was established and sustained by films that spoke to and for the times-- It Happened One Night , Mr. Deeds Goes to Town , Meet John Doe , and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . These replicated the nation's hopes and dreams for a national community. He worked with some of the brightest stars in Hollywood--James Stewart, Clark Gable, Jean Arthur, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Donna Reed, and Ann-Margret.

Capra's interviews express his connection to the national audience and explore his own story. He was a Sicilian immigrant boy who survived rough-and-tumble beginnings to become Hollywood's most bankable director. In reflecting on his life, almost every one of his films was a parable of acclaim verging on disaster. He spent much of the 1940s in uniform while making films for the War Department. Although Capra was an optimist, World War II and his series of Why We Fight films called his legendary optimism into question. His postwar film It's a Wonderful Life (1946) gave an answer to those questions with an astonishing directness Capra never equaled again.

In 1971 he published his autobiography, The Name Above the Title . Many of the interviews collected here come from this period when, as an elder statesman of motion picture art and history, he reflected on his long career. The interviews portray the Capra legend vividly and demonstrate why the warm relations between Capra and his audiences continue to inspire acclaim and admiration.

Leland Poague, a professor of English at Iowa State University, is the editor of Conversations with Susan Sontag (University Press of Mississippi). He is the author of Another Frank Capra and The Cinema of Frank Capra: An Approach to Film Comedy .


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Director Capra's 1930s and 1940s films extolling the virtues of the American everyman have made him perhaps the nation's most beloved filmmaker, though contrarians dismiss his unabashedly sentimental stuff as "Capra-corn." These 21 interviews tend to support the former view but also provide grist for the latter. The earlier ones, derived mostly from the popular press, show Capra hyping then-current flicks, such as It's a Wonderful Life.0 The later ones, dating from the last two decades of Capra's life, are more substantive. His filmmaking career was over, and he had devoted himself to burnishing his reputation in lectures to students and at film festivals. He repeats many of the entertaining anecdotes published in his 1971 autobiography--a book greatly debunked byoseph McBride in Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success0 (1991)--as well as his contempt for the studio system, which is exceeded only by his disdain for "intellectuals." Capra proudly declares that he aimed his films at the masses, and that accounts for both his phenomenal success and his artistic limitations. --Gordon Flagg Copyright 2004 Booklist


Booklist Review

Director Capra's 1930s and 1940s films extolling the virtues of the American everyman have made him perhaps the nation's most beloved filmmaker, though contrarians dismiss his unabashedly sentimental stuff as "Capra-corn." These 21 interviews tend to support the former view but also provide grist for the latter. The earlier ones, derived mostly from the popular press, show Capra hyping then-current flicks, such as It's a Wonderful Life.0 The later ones, dating from the last two decades of Capra's life, are more substantive. His filmmaking career was over, and he had devoted himself to burnishing his reputation in lectures to students and at film festivals. He repeats many of the entertaining anecdotes published in his 1971 autobiography--a book greatly debunked byoseph McBride in Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success0 (1991)--as well as his contempt for the studio system, which is exceeded only by his disdain for "intellectuals." Capra proudly declares that he aimed his films at the masses, and that accounts for both his phenomenal success and his artistic limitations. --Gordon Flagg Copyright 2004 Booklist


Table of Contents

Hal HallRuth MorrisLeo FreedmanPhilip K. ScheuerPaula HarrisonFrank DaughertyMarcel DalioEdwin SchallertPhilip K. ScheuerArthur B. FriedmanFred HiftJames R. Silke and Bruce HenstellJames ChildsAmerican CinematographerRichard GlatzerGeorge BaileyJohn F. MarianiHarry A. HargraveAmerican FilmWilliam M. DrewNeil Hurley, S. J.Hal HallRuth MorrisLeo FreedmanPhilip K. ScheuerPaula HarrisonFrank DaughertyMarcel DalioEdwin SchallertPhilip K. ScheuerArthur B. FriedmanFred HiftJames R. Silke and Bruce HenstellJames ChildsAmerican CinematographerRichard GlatzerGeorge BaileyJohn F. MarianiHarry A. HargraveAmerican FilmWilliam M. DrewNeil Hurley, S. J.
Introductionp. vii
Chronologyp. xxi
Filmographyp. xxxiii
An Interview with Frank Caprap. 3
Capra Foresees Satirical Cycle: Many Subjects Ripe for Ridiculep. 7
Frank Capra Thinks Audience Should Help Create Film Storyp. 9
Public Doesn't Want to Think, Says Caprap. 12
The Master of the Human Touchp. 15
He Has the Common Touchp. 19
Une Conception de la Beautep. 23
Emotional Appeal Capra's Film Goalp. 28
State of the Union to Pace Electionp. 31
Popular Art: Frank Caprap. 34
Capra of Deeds & Smith Sagas Sees Hollywood Now Over-Intellectualp. 70
Frank Capra: "One Man--One Film"p. 72
Capra Todayp. 93
Frank Capra Interviewed at the Second Tehran International Film Festivalp. 99
A Conversation with Frank Caprap. 108
Why We (Should Not) Fight: Colonel Frank Capra Interviewedp. 124
Frank Caprap. 132
Interview with Frank Caprap. 146
Dialogue on Film: Frank Caprap. 164
A Lighthouse in a Foggy Worldp. 178
Capra: The Voice Behind the Name Above the Titlep. 185
Indexp. 201
Introductionp. vii
Chronologyp. xxi
Filmographyp. xxxiii
An Interview with Frank Caprap. 3
Capra Foresees Satirical Cycle: Many Subjects Ripe for Ridiculep. 7
Frank Capra Thinks Audience Should Help Create Film Storyp. 9
Public Doesn't Want to Think, Says Caprap. 12
The Master of the Human Touchp. 15
He Has the Common Touchp. 19
Une Conception de la Beautep. 23
Emotional Appeal Capra's Film Goalp. 28
State of the Union to Pace Electionp. 31
Popular Art: Frank Caprap. 34
Capra of Deeds & Smith Sagas Sees Hollywood Now Over-Intellectualp. 70
Frank Capra: "One Man--One Film"p. 72
Capra Todayp. 93
Frank Capra Interviewed at the Second Tehran International Film Festivalp. 99
A Conversation with Frank Caprap. 108
Why We (Should Not) Fight: Colonel Frank Capra Interviewedp. 124
Frank Caprap. 132
Interview with Frank Caprap. 146
Dialogue on Film: Frank Caprap. 164
A Lighthouse in a Foggy Worldp. 178
Capra: The Voice Behind the Name Above the Titlep. 185
Indexp. 201