Frank Capra: Authorship And The Studio System

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Frank Capra's films have had a lasting impact on American culture. His powerful depiction of American values, myths, and ideals was central to such famous Hollywood films as It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life. These pre-war films are remembered for their depiction of an individual's overcoming adversity, populist politics, and an unflappable optimist view of life.

This collection of nine essays by leading international film historians ...

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1998 Hard cover Illustrated. New in very good dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 293 p. Contains: Illustrations. Culture & the Moving Image. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Frank Capra's films have had a lasting impact on American culture. His powerful depiction of American values, myths, and ideals was central to such famous Hollywood films as It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life. These pre-war films are remembered for their depiction of an individual's overcoming adversity, populist politics, and an unflappable optimist view of life.

This collection of nine essays by leading international film historians analyzes Capra's filmmaking during his most prolific period, from 1928 to 1939, taking a closer look at the more complex aspects of his work. They trace his struggles for autonomy against Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn, his reputation as an auteur, and the ways in which working within studio modes of production may have enhanced the director's strengths.

The contributors also place their critiques within the context of the changing fortunes of the Hollywood studio system, the impact of the Depression, and Capra's working relationships with other studio staff and directors. The contributors' access to nineteen newly restored Capra films made at Columbia during this period fills this collection with some of the most comprehensive critiques available on the director's early body of work.

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Editorial Reviews

Peter Terry
The essays in this book are revealing and rich in insight into one of cinemas most important early directors and the economic entity which brought his work into being. Anyone interested in film history will find this to be a very readable and illuminating work. -- ForeWord
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566396073
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/1998
  • Series: Culture And The Moving Image Series
  • Pages: 293
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Anatomy of a House Director: Capra, Cohn, and Columbia in the 1930s 10
2 A Leap into the Void: Frank Capra's Apprenticeship to Ideology 37
3 It Is (Not) a Wonderful Life: For a Counter-reading of Frank Capra 64
4 Capra and the Abyss: Self-interest versus the Common Good in Depression America 95
5 It Happened One Night: The Recreation of the Patriarch 130
6 Roosevelt, Arnold, and Capra, (or) the Federalist-Populist Paradox 164
7 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: Democratic Forms and Representational Forms 190
8 Studio Metamorphosis: Columbia's Emergence from Poverty Row 222
9 Notes on Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1926-1941, with a New Afterward 255
Bibliography 282
Filmography 285
About the Contributors 289
Index 291
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