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 Post subject: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:04 am 
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden
Frank Capra (1897-1991)

I lead people, not direct them. My part is to
excite people to do what they can do. The word
‘actor' is anathema to me. I'm shooting people
who are alive – they don't know what's ahead
of them or behind them – I'm shooting people
who haven't read their parts.

~ Frank Capra

(quoted by Joseph McBride in Frank Capra: The
Catastrophe of Success
)

Filmography

Fultah Fisher's Boarding House (1922)

The Strong Man (1926) Kino (R1) – included in Harry Langdon… The Forgotten Clown

Long Pants (1927) Kino (R1) – included in Harry Langdon… The Forgotten Clown

For the Love of Mike (1927)

That Certain Thing (1928)

So This Is Love? (1928)

The Matinee Idol (1928) Columbia (R1)

The Way of the Strong (1928)

Say It with Sables (1928)

Submarine (1928)

The Power of the Press (1928)

The Burglar (1928)

The Younger Generation (1929)

The Donovan Affair (1929)

Flight (1929)

Ladies of Leisure (1930)

Rain or Shine (1930)

Dirigible (1931)

The Miracle Woman (1931) 4 Front Video (R2 UK) – included in Barbara Stanwyck Screen Goddess Collection

Platinum Blonde (1931) Columbia (R1)

Forbidden (1932)

American Madness (1932) Sony (R1) – included in The Premiere Frank Capra Collection

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) 4 Front Video (R2 UK) – included in Barbara Stanwyck Screen Goddess Collection

Lady for a Day (1933) Image Entertainment (R1) / Wild Side (R2 FR) – included in Coffret Frank Capra

It Happened One Night (1934) Sony (R1) – included in The Premiere Frank Capra Collection / Columbia (R1) / Sony (R2 UK) / Universal (R2 UK) – included in Frank Capra Box Set

Broadway Bill (1934) Paramount (R1) / Wild Side (R2 FR) – included in Coffret Frank Capra

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) Sony (R1) – included in The Premiere Frank Capra Collection / Columbia (R1)

Lost Horizon (1937) Columbia (R1)

You Can't Take It with You (1938) Sony (R1) – included in The Premiere Frank Capra Collection / Columbia (R1) / Universal (R2 UK) – included in Frank Capra Box Set

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Sony (R1) – included in The Premiere Frank Capra Collection / Columbia (R1) / Universal (R2 UK) – also included in Frank Capra Box Set

Meet John Doe (1941) VCI (R1) – double feature with A Farewell to Arms / Alpha (R1) / Hal Roach (R1) / Wild Side (R2 FR) – included in Coffret Frank Capra

Why We Fight, 1 – Prelude to War (short, 1943) Alpha (R1) – included in Why We Fight: The Complete Series

Why We Fight, 2 -- The Nazis Strike (short, 1943) Alpha (R1) – included in Why We Fight: The Complete Series

Why We Fight, 4 -- The Battle of Britain (short, 1943) Alpha (R1) – included in Why We Fight: The Complete Series

Why We Fight 5 – The Battle of Russia (short, 1943) Alpha (R1) – included in Why We Fight: The Complete Series

Why We Fight, 6 – The Battle of China (short, 1944) Alpha (R1) – included in Why We Fight: The Complete Series

The Negro Soldier (short 1944)

Tunisian Victory (1944) Brentwood (R1) – included in WWII: The Ultimate Collection

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Warner Brothers (R1) / Warner Brothers (R2 UK)

Your Job in Germany (short, 1945) VCI (R1) – included in Great Generals, Vol. 2

Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945) VCI (R1) – as extra on December 7th

Two Down and One to Go (short, 1945)

Why We Fight, 7 – War Comes to America (1945) Alpha (R1) – included in Why We Fight: The Complete Series

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Paramount (R1) / Universal (R2 UK) – also included in Frank Capra Box Set

State of the Union (1948) Universal (R1) / Universal (R2 UK)

Riding High (1950) Paramount (R1)

Here Comes the Groom (1951) Paramount (R1) – as double feature with Just for You

Our Mr. Sun (TV, 1956) Image Entertainment (R1) as double feature with The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays

Hemo the Magnificent (TV, 1957) Image Entertainment (R1) – double feature with The Unchained Goddess

The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays (TV, 1957) Image Entertainment (R1) as double feature with Our Mr. Sun

The Unchained Goddess (TV, 1958) Image Entertainment (R1) – double feature with Hemo the Magnificent

A Hole in the Head (1959) MGM (R1) / MGM (R2 UK)

Pocketful of Miracles (1961) MGM (R1)


GENERAL DISCUSSION

Defend Your Darlings – appraisal of the Why We Fight series


Recommended Web Resources

American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra – excerpts from Ray Carney's book on Capra

BFI: Sight and Sound (January, 2002) – article “Crisis in Happylandâ€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden
Having recently picked up these two lesser celebrated Capra titles at a sale at DVDPlanet, I made a double-header of them last night.

Matinee Idol clocks in at about an hour, and is the only silent film that I have ever seen by Capra. It concerns a broadway "blackface" celebrity Don Wilson (Johnnie Walker), who is sent on a vacation by his producer to get away from his stressful performance schedule and his many woman admirers. Somewhere in the burbs he comes across a small family theater company -- the Bolivar Players -- advertising for an actor. As a joke, he auditions and wins the part, as well as the heart of Ginger (Bessie Love) -- the lovely young leader of the Bolivars.

Feigning ignorance and clumsiness, Don proceeds to make a farce of the Bolivar Players' highly dramatic production, and a pair of his show biz friends find it so hilarious that they invite it to Broadway. On Broadway, the story takes the expected twists and turns, as Wilson attempts to juggle his blackface performance and bit part in the Bolivar Players' production, while simultaneously kindling the love affair between Ginger and himself.

Matinee Idol will primarily interest fans of Capra. It is far from the sophistication of his later films, but it already shows some of the director's qualities -- most notably his sympathy for the underdog(s) and his ability to juggle and present a large ensemble of eccentric characters to great comedic effect. The DVD looks very nice, and it comes with a feature length Capra documentary. It is presented as part of Columbia's "Frank Capra Classic Collection" -- I do not remember seeing any other titles in this alleged collection...!?

Based on what I had read, my expectations for Riding High were not very high. Released in 1950, it was a Bing Crosby vehicle, and a remake of the director's own early talkie -- Broadway Bill. Twenty minutes into the film, my low expectations were generally met -- Bing is engaged to daughter of tycoon; in order to please father of girl, he has hung up his career as racehorse promoter and taken on corporate executive position in father's business empire; Bing rebels at father's diningroom table and walks out on fiancee to go back to racing horses (or horse, as it were); Bing's fiancee lets him walk out, but the youngest daughter of the family has her eye on Bing, and follows him south to the race track; along the way, Bing engages in a couple of brief song and dance routines (which in all fairness are reasonably well integrated in the fabric of the story)... Nothing to really get excited about.

Later in the film, Capra introduces a number of familiar faces: Ward Bond, James Gleason, and more prominently Raymond Walburn as Professor Pettigrew, an old race track rat, and his side-kick Happy -- William Demarest in a role that sums up a career of wonderful sarcasm and raised eyebrows. In fact, for my money these two steal the show and make the film. There are a number of memorable scenes with them, but most particularly, at one point they do a con job on Oliver Hardy (yes the Oliver Hardy in a cameo as a hopeless race track addict), and it litteraly had me wriggling on the floor in hysterical laughter, and pretty much saved the film for me.

Riding High is for the Capra completists. It has flashes of the old magic, but it does not stay the course. There are probably many other reasons, but a strong contributing factor is Bing Crosby, who is just not a real "Capra" hero -- all song and dance, smart retorts and ego that (naturally) have the women swooning over him. (Sorry, I am probably being unfair, but Crosby is one of the few classic American leading men that I have yet to learn to appreciate).


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: Richmond, Rhode Island
Does anyone out there own any of these four newly re-mastered editions of these films?

Image

I own the older versions and was wondering if the transfers are improved, and are they worthy of a double dip.


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:25 pm
Don't own these, but I would guess these were just plucked from the box set of a few years back. (Which looked rather nice to me.)


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
One of four directors to be memorialized by the USPS with a stamp, to be issued next year:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:56 pm
Why is the word "forever" crossed out on all these stamps? It's like the stamps are coded messages to time-traveling hit men, letting them know their next (or is it their previous?) assignment. Are these directors pictured on stamps because they're dead, or are they dead because they appeared on stamps (after their deaths)? Postal conspiracy!


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:07 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
So you can't print them out and use them


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
Capra's wonderful Lady For a Day coming to Blu-ray March 20th!


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am
4K resto of It Happened One Night completed, 4 more Capras to come.

Those who already have Sony's 4K Ultra HD Media Player on their UHDTV's can purchase the film now.

For normal people, I'm sure there will be fear that this may end up with TT, but if Sony are promoting it on their 4K service, it could end up in their Blu-ray "Mastered in 4K" series.


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village
The four.......
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Lost Horizon (1937)
You Can't Take it With You (1938)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ((1939)
........most likely.


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
The Strong Man, Capra's first solo feature, screening as part of the Film Forum Jr. Series.

Sunday October 19, 11am. 35mm.

Quite frankly, with Sunday morning showings and $7, I sometimes prefer what's going on with FF Jr. than Adult Film Forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
Just checked out The Bitter Tea of General Yen from the library, and their copy was a burn-on-demand DVD-R disc from Sony.

The transfer is actually excellent, but the encoding not so much. It's fine, but they cranked up the compression so that an 87 minute film is crunched down to 2.99 GB of data - with no extras, they could have easily used a better, easier setting that would've filled up the disc and left an image with less compression artifacts and better looking grain. (For example, Criterion's older DVDs featuring films of similar vintage and length often exceed 4 GB of data by a significant margin.) A shame. Was this ever a pressed DVD? I'm wondering if they used the same DVD master, or if the burn-on-demand DVD-R master has more compression?


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:18 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
Yes, the original printing of the TCM Capra set was pressed


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:47 pm
Who owns the rights to Capra's 1930s films? They were all made at Columbia. It would be amazing to have a 15-film blu-ray set like "Carpa in the '30s" with:

Ladies of Leisure (1930)
Rain or Shine (1930)
Dirigible (1931)
The Miracle Woman (1931)
Platinum Blonde (1931)
Forbidden (1932)
American Madness (1932)
The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
Lady for a Day (1933)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Broadway Bill (1934)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Lost Horizon (1937)
You Can't Take It With You (1938)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:33 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
Lady for a Day is with Inception, Broadway Bill is with Paramount, It Happened One Night with Criterion, the rest with Sony still


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:52 am 

Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 7:08 am
I remember two years ago my girlfriend was utterly depressed, so I brought her to a Franck Capra retrospective they were holding at some local cineclub, she was cured in one week. That's gotta be worth something.

I love a lot of his movies, even though I'd say some are overrated, especially "It happened one night", which was maybe genre defining at the time but it really lacks the Capra touch... Especially when he made "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" one year prior to that, quite a wonderful movie, sadly overshadowed by the rest of Capra's filmography (at least here in Europe, very few talks about it).

His autobiography was very enlightening, his eternal struggle with Hary Cohn built up into quite an epic confrontation, you had to have quite some character to face this guy...


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
Capra's only appearance on Letterman.


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 Post subject: Re: Frank Capra
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village
Thanks Hearthesilence... Here is another one from 10 years prior to the Letterman Show....Cavett show with Capra, Altman, Bogdanovich and Mel Brooks together


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