Links - Frank Capra

(With some notes on content)

Classic Film Director Frank Capra

Well organized site with a thorough range of information on Capra.

Photographs of Capra

The "Hollywood Renegades Archive" has two nice photos of Capra (which they also sell copies of).

Roger Ebert: Essay on Capra's It's A Wonderful Life

"What is remarkable about "It's a Wonderful Life" is how well it holds up over the years; it's one of those ageless movies, like "Casablanca" or "The Third Man," that improves with age. Some movies, even good ones, should only be seen once. When we know how they turn out, they've surrendered their mystery and appeal. Other movies can be viewed an indefinite number of times. Like great music, they improve with familiarity. "It's a Wonderful Life" falls in the second category."

Ebert's easy-to-read, talky analysis of Capra's film & it's recurrent phenomena. More

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
More or less a transcript of the entire film, with much of the dialogue written out.

Reel Classics Tribute to Frank Capra

Fan site on Capra

Miss Arthur Goes to Hollywood

Tribute site on frequent Capra actress Jean Arthur.

"Story of A Good Man in a Bad Town"

"Leni Reifenstahl lives in infamy because she propagandized for the German Nazi regime, but America's greatest propagandist, Frank Capra, still holds a special place in the hearts of his fellow citizens."

A somewhat overwrought analysis of the rosy platitudes in Mr.Smith Goes to Washington, but still a good read, and loaded with the condesention of someone who finds political tropes as the only way to understand art (or maybe everything). More


The Bitter Tea of General Yen

"Shrewd and talented as he was, Capra's espousal of the virtues of the little man reek of whimsy and wishful thinking and, though we were once taken in by their sheer entertainment value, they remain among American cinema's most cosily absurd fables." (From the review by Derak Malcom.)

Although there is a (positive) review of Bitter Tea in this nine-paragraph savaging of Capra, his films and America in general, it shows a certain amount of disinterest on the part of the reviewer. Certain details are recalled wrongly (e.g., the "threatening Chinese man" mentioned in the review, re: the dream sequence, is in fact General Yen, something that is telegraphed very simply to the audience by Capra in that he practically superimposes Nils Asther's face over 'the threatening Chinese man' so that you cannot escape the connection... unless of course you're not watching the movie).

What's worse, the reviewer misses the whole point of the ending in that the writer thinks Yen commits suicide because "Alas, however, the the war turns against him and he poisons himself." A more careful viewing of the film would show that Yen's decision to die has more to do with the American Missionary woman, and is in fact his final effort to reach her. Obviously Yen's death resolves several perfunctory plot issues - - but the issue of the relationship, which is the entire theme and raison for the tale, would (or should be) be hard to miss.

But the dilemma for the Guardian reviewer of seeing this film is probably best summed up with his statement "The film looks marvelous, almost in the Sternberg mould, with black and white lighting culled from special portrait lenses and the sort of richly textured decor that only MGM could contemplate at the time." Yes, he "saw" the film, but apparently didn't "see" it.

American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra

A site with promotional text about Ray Carney's Welsyelan University class about Capra. From the text: "Carney finds in Capra's life and work a classic American struggle for self expression within the repressive structures of ordinary life."

The Matinee Idol: A Miracle of Restoration

Online essay on the restoration of Capra's silent film.

Classic Films: Frank Capra
Site with many links, and concise information on Capra. 

Original page 2005 | Updated April 2013

Frank Capra Premiere Collection

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