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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk => Directors => Topic started by: MartinTeller on October 07, 2010, 04:13:53 PM

Title: Capra, Frank
Post by: MartinTeller on October 07, 2010, 04:13:53 PM
(http://i52.tinypic.com/2u4pv1i.jpg)

I skipped some of the films (especially early ones) that had very few votes on IMDb.  Let me know if your favorite is missing.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: MartinTeller on October 07, 2010, 04:15:23 PM
1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. It Happened One Night
3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
4. American Madness
5. Lost Horzion
6. Meet John Doe
7. The Bitter Tea of General Yen
8. You Can't Take It With You
9. Arsenic and Old Lace
10. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 07, 2010, 04:33:47 PM
Great
1) It Happened One Night
2) You Can't Take It With You
3) Arsenic And Old Lace
Good
4) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Decent/Middling
5) Mr. Deeds Goes To Town
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: mañana on October 07, 2010, 05:57:37 PM
It's a Wonderful Life
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: Mike Shutt on October 07, 2010, 07:16:33 PM
It Happened One Night
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: oneaprilday on October 07, 2010, 07:23:48 PM
Love:
It's a Wonderful Life
It Happened One Night
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Arsenic and Old Lace


Am very fond of:
Pocketful of Miracles

Like well enough:
You Can't Take It with You
Lost Horizon
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: sdedalus on October 07, 2010, 08:37:02 PM
1. Mr. Smith
2. It's a Wonderful Life
3. It Happened One Night
4. The Bitter Tea of General Yen
5. Arsenic & Old Lace
6. Lost Horizon
7. You Can't Take it With You
8. Meet John Doe
9. Platinum Blonde
10. Mr. Deeds
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: MartinTeller on October 07, 2010, 08:54:07 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't like Mr. Deeds.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 07, 2010, 09:53:27 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't like Mr. Deeds.

I think it has an excellent, very sardonic first half, but in the second half Capra goes way overboard with his Capracorn style and basically mitigates the first half.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: ¡Keith! on October 08, 2010, 12:58:30 AM
Capraesque capra capra.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: Mandrake on October 25, 2010, 03:50:18 PM
It's a Wonderful Life - my only Capra and I adore it
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: pixote on October 25, 2010, 04:04:10 PM
It's a Wonderful Life is one of the very best films ever made.

pixote
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: mañana on October 25, 2010, 04:07:47 PM
It's a Wonderful Life is one of the very best films ever made.

pixote
Communist.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: Mandrake on October 25, 2010, 04:45:02 PM
Does anybody NOT LOVE Its a Wonderful Life?  Come forward.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: pixote on October 25, 2010, 04:45:33 PM
Communist.

And yet I'd still give you the moon.

pixote
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: mañana on October 25, 2010, 05:13:46 PM
Communist.
And yet I'd still give you the moon.
I always figured you'd be good with a lasso.

Of course you wouldn't "give" it to me as much as I'd be the publicly accountable custodian with a mission of responsible moon stewardship and a commitment to equal access. This November, vote "no" on the lunar privatization ballot initiative.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: pixote on October 25, 2010, 05:15:08 PM
:D :D :D

pixote
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: ¡Keith! on October 25, 2010, 11:29:03 PM
Does anybody NOT LOVE Its a Wonderful Life?  Come forward.

HI!
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: 1SO on October 25, 2010, 11:39:47 PM
Does anybody NOT LOVE Its a Wonderful Life?  Come forward.

HI!
I thought I did, but I watched it last Christmas and my wife and I were greatly disappointed.  We both love It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith, but Life just didn't work (except for that dinner in the leaky house during the rain.  That was incredibly sweet and romantic.)
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: ¡Keith! on October 25, 2010, 11:41:42 PM
love Mr. Smith as well.
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: MartinTeller on October 25, 2010, 11:43:01 PM
Does anybody NOT LOVE Its a Wonderful Life?  Come forward.

HI!
I thought I did, but I watched it last Christmas and my wife and I were greatly disappointed. 

Did it hurt a lot when they removed your heart?
Title: Re: Directors Best Poll - Frank Capra
Post by: Adrienne on November 08, 2010, 06:06:43 AM
Well, I bunged in a vote for Lost Horizon
It's well good, innit?
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on November 23, 2010, 11:57:23 AM
It Happened One Night

Very close behind:
Arsenic and Old Lace
It's a Wonderful Life

What a great director
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: roujin on September 22, 2012, 11:00:13 AM
(http://i1258.photobucket.com/albums/ii537/roujinz/film%20500/ithappenedonenight_500x375_zps6e55a41b.jpg)
It Happened One Night Frank Capra, 1934

Incorrect. It happened in several nights, wherein Clark Gable more or less chastefully seduces Claudette Colbert's spoiled princess character, playfully putting up a barrier between them during the nights, just to make her think that he isn't  Simon Yam "CINECAST! machine." But we all know he is. And she knows he is. And it's another one of those old films that end outside of the bedroom as their main characters get ready for a marathon "CINECAST! session," to put it politely. The film is charming stuff, road humor stuff, romantic comedy classic stuff; but we all know it's prelude. We know what it's about.

(http://i1258.photobucket.com/albums/ii537/roujinz/film%20500/itsawonderfullife_500x372_zps2301ccec.jpg)
It's a Wonderful Life! Frank Capra, 1946

Had memories of actually watching this and I even had it checked on ICM or whatever but, watching it, it became obvious that I'd never seen this before. Or, at least, not most of it. So the whole thing was a surprise. Also a surprise: that most of it reminded me of the opening sequence of Up, in that it's all about putting away the dreams and passion of youth when faced with the realities of life, and how we get pulled into another sort of story and another sort of life against our will, because that's quite simply what is meant to happen to us. It was also hilarious that this great American classic starts off with one of the weirdest opening sequences I've ever seen (angels talking to each other in heaven, is this that Kunal Kohli magic again?). Also liked that most of the movie wasn't about him not existing and stuff. That would've been insufferable. Or awesome. It could've also been the cheesiest thing in the world. But is it all about the depressing aspects of American life, the simple reality of giving up and making do. You know what? No.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on September 22, 2012, 11:30:07 AM
but we all know it's prelude. We know what it's about.

 :D

Quote
the simple reality of giving up and making do. You know what? No.

But, but.. oh, never mind. :)
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on September 22, 2012, 12:35:47 PM
Oh bother, I better just speak up.

One of my favorite moments in all of cinema is when, out of bitter disappointment and literally having nothing, Mary creates magic.

Even though their lives can seem like a slog sometimes, when push comes to shove, there's something there, you know?
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: oneaprilday on September 22, 2012, 01:25:04 PM
It Happened One Night Frank Capra, 1934

chastefully seduces
Chaste seduction. I like it - the term, I mean. ;)

It's a Wonderful Life! Frank Capra, 1946

Had memories of actually watching this and I even had it checked on ICM or whatever but, watching it, it became obvious that I'd never seen this before. Or, at least, not most of it. So the whole thing was a surprise.
You and many people, I think.


It was also hilarious that this great American classic starts off with one of the weirdest opening sequences I've ever seen (angels talking to each other in heaven, is this that Kunal Kohli magic again?).
;D So great.

But is it all about the depressing aspects of American life, the simple reality of giving up and making do. You know what? No.
"it" = film?  Sorry, I'm dumb. I can't tell if you're saying that the film is about the reality of giving up and making do, and then with your "No" you disagree. (I think this is how you're reading roujin, Sandy?) 

Or, if you're saying the "No" - the film isn't about the simple reality of giving up and making do, as some might argue. 

Clarify, please?
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on September 22, 2012, 01:37:09 PM
Oh! I think I misread it. If so, my apologies roujin. :) (I was kind of surprised by what I thought you were saying.)
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: worm@work on September 22, 2012, 08:21:19 PM
It Happened One Night Frank Capra, 1934
Yeah okay. But when are you watching the bollywood remake with young Raj Kapoor?
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Antares on September 22, 2012, 10:18:35 PM
I love the part where George enters the house and Ernie is acting as doorman. Ernie leans back and makes his hat tip upwards and he holds out his hand, feigning a tip expected. George looks down and the rain water from the brim of his hat pours into Ernie's hand...symbolically stating that his actions are all wet. It's a priceless moment.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: oldkid on September 23, 2012, 11:45:20 AM
I really love It's a Wonderful Life.  But I also really love You Can't Take It With You.  I voted for the later just to be ornery.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: MartinTeller on September 23, 2012, 12:01:55 PM
So can we get an explanation of this mysterious dangling "No"?  I was wondering about it myself.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: oldkid on September 23, 2012, 12:20:50 PM
My theory is that r is recognizing the theme of the film, but refusing such difficult choices in his own life.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on September 23, 2012, 12:40:09 PM
I'm rooting for roujin's take to be-- no, there is more to it than that. He's got a big effusive heart, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one. So help us out roujin! (It's okay if I'm wrong. :) )

I love the part where George enters the house and Ernie is acting as doorman. Ernie leans back and makes his hat tip upwards and he holds out his hand, feigning a tip expected. George looks down and the rain water from the brim of his hat pours into Ernie's hand...symbolically stating that his actions are all wet. It's a priceless moment.

 :)) It's as funny still as the first time I saw it. Priceless and timeless.


I really love It's a Wonderful Life.  But I also really love You Can't Take It With You.  I voted for the later just to be ornery.

How great is it that the secret ingredient in both movies is Lionel Barrymore? And he does it by playing polar opposite characters!

Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: oldkid on September 23, 2012, 01:09:48 PM

I really love It's a Wonderful Life.  But I also really love You Can't Take It With You.  I voted for the later just to be ornery.

How great is it that the secret ingredient in both movies is Lionel Barrymore? And he does it by playing polar opposite characters!

Yeah, I know!  He is so great in both these films.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on January 04, 2013, 09:21:56 AM
1. You Can't Take it With You
2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
3. Arsenic and Old Lace
4. It Happened One Night
5. Meet John Doe
6. American Madness
7. Ladies of Leisure
8. State of the Union
9. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
10. Here Comes the Groom
11. The Power of the Press
12. Riding High
13. The Matinee Idol
14. Long Pants
15. Lady For a Day
16. It's a Wonderful Life
17. Pocketful of Miracles
18. Broadway Bill
19. A Hole in the Head
20. The Miracle Woman
21. The Strong Man
22. Platinum Blonde
23. The Bitter Tea of General Yen
24. Lost Horizon
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Antares on January 04, 2013, 05:12:54 PM
You Can't Take It with You
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It's a Wonderful Life


It Happened One Night
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Meet John Doe
Arsenic and Old Lace
Lost Horizon


Lady for a Day
State of the Union


Pocketful of Miracles
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on January 04, 2013, 06:28:08 PM
Except for my hugely unpopular opinion, that's pretty darn close. Lost Horizon and State of the Union are part of my Watchlist, so I'll get to them this year.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Antares on January 04, 2013, 09:38:10 PM
Except for my hugely unpopular opinion, that's pretty darn close.

Yeah, I was a bit shocked by that color. What don't you like about it.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on January 04, 2013, 10:55:38 PM
Except for the leaky house and losing the robe it just didn't charming. The darker material came though clear, but the typical Capraesque magic left me cold. Also Donna Reed is a blank for me, much like Doris Day is to others.

Does anybody NOT LOVE Its a Wonderful Life?  Come forward.
HI!
I thought I did, but I watched it last Christmas and my wife and I were greatly disappointed. 
Did it hurt a lot when they removed your heart?
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: oldkid on January 04, 2013, 10:56:32 PM
I'll see your unpopular opinion and raise you:

You Can't Take it With You
It's a Wonderful Life

Arscinic and Old Lace
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Meet John Doe






It Happened One Night
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: verbALs on January 05, 2013, 12:01:04 AM
I was still hot for Donna Reed when she was in Dallas. :o
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on March 20, 2013, 11:02:42 PM
State of the Union
* * *

Trying to navigate my feelings on this film, I would have to call it a mess-terpiece because it's so great so often and then every once in a while I realize the story is relying on one-dimensional characters with agendas built out of distilled evil. (We get it. People are too stupid to vote for the best candidate.) Sometimes it's as complex as an excellent West Wing two-parter and sometimes you have the bad guys just bellowing or throwing evil stares at the camera. Capra taps into a dark vein of the American dream and stays on the cynical side longer than any of his other films. (Usually it's just the 3rd Act dramatics.) But he can't resist his Capra corn and though it only appears about 4 times here, it's never felt more detrimental to the overall film.

Katharine Hepburn has probably never done more with less. Often she's just the token love interest on the side and suddenly they remember they have her on the payroll and give her something really interesting to play with for about 5 minutes. It's mostly Spencer Tracy's show and he's ready to give the big speeches and lengthy monologues. Much of it sounds like it was written by Obama the idealist who's taking revenge on the compromise machine that got him elected. The parallels to today's political climate is fascinating, and overall the dramatics come off like a great fireworks display. But the arcs are stitched together like a highlight reel of great movies. They don't flow organically, though they do pack a heavyweight punch.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: don s. on March 21, 2013, 12:16:55 PM
I'm voting for Platinum Blonde because I just recently saw it for the first time and was knocked out by it. Loretta Young (as the non-blonde) was a revelation.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on March 21, 2013, 10:52:27 PM
Lost Horizon
* *

Because of Capra's name I didn't think this would be as strange as it sounded, but it turned out to be even stranger. The kind of project that made me wonder how he got producers to finance it. Sure, this sort of unfilmable challenge is what leads to artistic triumphs like Life of Pi, but while Capra may have had the passion for the job, he didn't have the skills.

There's a lot I like, mostly the intellectual debates about how Shangri-La could possibly exist and thrive. (Subtle hints that most civilizations are brought down by men who lust after women though it's the woman that takes the blame.) The character interactions are set up to play nicely off each other, but many of the discussions are as exciting as trade disputes in Star Wars. The High Lama delivering endless speeches at peace (during the dawn of a great war.) I noticed even the staging of some of these conversations are done in long static shots. Ultimately the people I didn't know (Ronald Colman and John Howard) were lifeless and the two I love (Edward Everett Horton and Thomas Mitchell) were only asked to be bumbling comic relief. Horton in particular is like watching Eddie Murphy trying to pump air into a lifeless part.

Then there are the ??? touches. The woman who attaches pipes to birds' tails. The ending, which rushes through doom, out the other side and then inexplicably back into the cold. It's like they condensed another hour into montage shots and newspaper headlines. Characters we've never met talking about our leads. No wonder I was so disconnected. In the end, I'm genuinely surprised by this film's lasting reputation. I admire the ambition of the project, but of the 9 Capra I've seen it's my least favorite.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on December 15, 2013, 06:31:37 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/VcNtOvk.png)
Riding High

What starts as a plodding, drawn-out comedy turns into a charming and hilarious musical with a cast to die for. Frank Capra reworks a film he made years earlier (using some of the same footage), adds in Bing Crosby, who sings some delightful songs and creates a winning underdog picture. Top of the costars is William Demarest (was this guy ever NOT funny?), who makes the most of every line and breaks Bing on camera a couple of times. Then there's Ward Bond, Raymond Walburn, Harry Davenport, Margaret Hamilton (as 'Vinegar Puss'), Gene Lockhart, Charles Lane and a showcase cameo by Oliver Hardy.

The movie was largely unsuccessful and at the end it's easy to see why. I want to recommend this to Sandy for 2014s Music of May, but be ready for some heavy tragedy in the final minutes. What happens is earned, and even subtly hinted at, but completely unnecessary. After a triumphant audience-pleasing ending, the film chooses to go out with moroseness and a heavy-handed message that removes this from my "Buy It" pile. I don't even think I could watch it skipping the end. It'd be too hard knowing what happens.
Rating: * * *

Sandy, since you probably won't watch this, I want to give you a taste of the musical good life. Bring Crosby leading a very Crosby-ed version of "Campton Races." Enjoy the happiness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2B5XQCLtLQ
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on December 15, 2013, 09:23:28 PM
Thanks 1SO :D, I like how the lady is walking along, steps back on a girls toes, turns and apologizes and they keep it in the film. I've put it on my watchlist and will remember to prepare myself for the ending.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on April 24, 2014, 08:20:08 PM
The Bitter Tea of General Yen
* * 1/2

I'll admit Bing Crosby sends very mixed messages when he performs in blackface in Holiday Inn or makes a film like Dixie (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12547.msg755366#msg755366), but there's a sweetness that overrides the naiveté. This progressive look at race relations also means well, but it sinks deep in stereotype of both Chinese people and ignorant, rich, white folks. In the most bizarre scene, Stanwyck's character dreams she is nearly ravaged by a devilish version of General Yen only to be rescued and seduced by an angelic version. The entire film operates in these extremes, rarely touching the ground in the middle.

It's a surprisingly watchable train wreck that never quite reaches the overkill heights of Josef von Sternberg, though this script would be right in his (and Dietrich's) wheelhouse. Still at the dawn of her great career, Barabara Stanwyck already commands the screen like few others ever have. Nils Asther is fine as the white guy playing a Chinese man. If you want to see this performance done right, watch Paul Muni in The Good Earth (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9536.msg723313#msg723313). For entertainment with your history, watch Dixie. For good Frank Capra, watch nearly any other film he's made (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9005.msg714928#msg714928). This tea isn't bitter (or sweet) enough.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on April 26, 2014, 04:11:41 PM
Ladies of Leisure
* * * 1/2

What starts as a typical tale of a rich guy meeting a woman from the wrong side of the tracks, grows into a complex, highly relatable view of people in love defending themselves against the outside world who can only judge this book by its cover. 84 years later, the dramatic conflict here still rings true.

Barbara Stanwyck's 4th on-screen appearance and it's all there. Brassy, vulnerable. She takes a couple of scenes to grow into the part, but this is my 47th Stanwyck film and there are moments here I've never seen her play before. Of her pre-Lady Eve work this is my favorite, above Baby Face and Stella Dallas.

This 1930s production has the rough, technical qualities of the early sound era, but the emotions are very strong. With General Yen, Capra was tripped up by the social agenda. This film is about class differences, but it's told on human terms and Capra's at his best when taking a humanistic approach.

Another Capra touch I've noticed. He likes to wait until the last possible moment before pulling out the happy end. Think of Mr. Smith, John Doe or Wonderful Life. You think the happy ending is coming, but he draws things out a few minutes more, and he gets away with it too, which makes the ending such sweet relief.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: jascook on June 27, 2014, 08:24:19 PM
It's a Wonderful Life: 10/10
It Happened One Night: 9/10
Arsenic and Old Lace: 9/10
The Strong Man: 8/10
You Can't Take It With You: 7/10
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: roujin on August 13, 2014, 01:41:39 PM
1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
3. It Happened One Night (1934)
4. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
5. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
6. The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on December 04, 2014, 04:59:43 PM
(http://imgur.com/yNFTURR.jpg)
Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

For the first half-hour, Capra is shockingly uncertain. There are puddles of screwball comedy, wells of heavy sentiment and three times more plot than necessary. Coming from a master sculptor, the opening still looks like little more than a hunk of marble. I wasn't even sure which direction the film would take, and I hoped the answer wasn't 'all of them.'

(http://i.imgur.com/Oew9aS9.jpg)

Capra eventually does find his focus, pushing the script further towards screwball rom-com, which works in a comfortable Capra vein. At times it's as funny as I hoped, occasionally more so. That's partly due to the cast, a greatest hits of character actors so large, I don't have time to name them all. (There's even a scene of phone calls within the police ranks that reminded me of a similar cameo parade at the start of Hot Fuzz.) Peter Falk got the Oscar nomination, probably because he has more time for great lines and reactions. Edward Everett Horton is just as funny, with hardly any dialogue at all.

(http://imgur.com/P8p7rVM.jpg)

The sour spot in the holiday punch is Glenn Ford, who I don't know for comedy and this film proves why. He smiles and acts jolly but strains to be upbeat. (I learned after that he was an absolute dick to Bette Davis and Capra on set, and judging by the results I am not surprised.) The ending is another weak spot. It's the typical last last minute of joy that Capra is good for drawing out. However, it's unclear exactly why things suddenly turn to sunshine and roses. It's as if everyone was suddenly struck with the spirit of the season, with no motivation. Don't get me wrong, I like the ending happy. Just not so mysteriously happy.
Rating: * * 1/2
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on January 26, 2015, 08:06:16 PM
Here Comes the Groom
* * *

On my Ranked List (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9005.msg714928#msg714928), this is #10 by Capra and the lowest one that's lime green. That doesn't make this a weak good one, but proof of the strength of Capra's filmography beyond the known classics. After seeing this a 2nd time I can assure you there will be a DVD purchased. It's long by a couple of numbers (including a lengthy opera song right up front) and occasionally technically clumsy. I can't think of another film where there's a shot of actors frozen in place for a couple of seconds before they begin their action. I don't know how this accident even happened. There are also two cloying kids so MartinTeller's out. That's the bad.

Bing Crosby is at the height of his hep-cat powers here, with phrasing that'll make your ears do a double take. He's pitted against Jane Wyman, who joined my list of actors I plan to watch more of. The oil and vinegar chemistry between these two is outstanding. Among the songs are two sensational numbers. The first is a gimmicky one on an airplane, where Bing is joined by Louis Armstrong, followed by a bunch of other celebrities. The showpiece is the Oscar winning earworm "In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening." You hear it in different small froms throughout the film, but the main version is a bouncy duet by Bing and Jane. I don't know if a straight version of the song exists, because the one in the film contains small bits of improv from both of them and incorporates the location and situations into the lyrics. Here's some Merry Music to get you to May.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSgWX4DbZ4
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on January 26, 2015, 10:16:12 PM
I'm reeling a little from reading your ranked list. I must have blocked that from my memory. :)

Even though I should be leery of that list, your top 4 are solid, so I'll add Here Comes the Groom to my watchlist.

Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: 1SO on January 26, 2015, 10:58:52 PM
My unpopular opinion on It's a Wonderful Life (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=3408.msg381933#msg381933) is enough to discredit the entire list. However, I believe I steered you right with Riding High and that one song is the very definition of 'Merry Music'.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 27, 2015, 09:27:48 AM
I don't like it, either.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sandy on January 27, 2015, 09:51:24 AM
 :D


My dad refuses to watch it.

Harrumph! Bah Humbug! And all that.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 14, 2015, 08:55:00 AM
It Happened One Night
You Can't Take It with You
Arsenic and Old Lace
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It's a Wonderful Life

Title: Re: Capra, Frank - Directors Best Poll
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 14, 2015, 09:24:16 AM
Only reviewed Arsenic and Old Lace (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=5179).
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on September 30, 2015, 12:50:42 AM
(http://imgur.com/WeWGq7U.jpg)
American Madness (1932)
Quote from: MartinTeller
A liberal-minded bank president gets in a pickle when his vaults are robbed.  An early Capra that contains a lot of the elements that would define his career, especially It’s A Wonderful Life.  Faith in the little guy, the greedy hands of fat cats, the danger of mobs, the damage done by rumor-mongering, the reliability of friends, and most notably, a practice run for the bank panic scene.  The film moves economically with nary a wasted moment, some lively bits of humor, and surprisingly dynamic photography.  There’s a number of really fantastic looking shots throughout.  Although some of the performances are a bit weak, Walter Huston is quite likeable in the lead.  Maybe certain parts are a bit ludicrous or sentimentalized, but they fit in well with the Capra mindset.  Very enjoyable flick.  Rating: Very Good

I don't like to get too deep into story when writing about a movie, and there are a number of stories packed into a tight 75-minute running time. Stories both personal and epic in scale. Ones with a tremendous impact on the characters and ones that represent the unease felt by much of the country at the time. All of the stories are well-crafted and any one or two of them could be made into a great movie. Capra has them all pressing up against each other, but the film never feels overstuffed. Like a musical conductor, he keeps every instrument in tune with the others.

(http://imgur.com/gfhHjaV.jpg)

The themes and character types Capra would use again in his more popular classics are just as excellent here. Like Sergio Leone, Capra is a master of faces. There are dozens of people with only a line or two, but they're lit, framed an cut together into the most beautiful montages. Then there are your leads, like Walter Huston as Dickson, every bit the great Capra lead as Mr. Deeds, John Doe and Jefferson Smith. Pat O'Brien playing against type as a struggling everyman who gets backed into a tight corner and can't get out. The only bad performances are by Gavin Gordon (who has distractingly tweezed eyebrows) and Sterling Holloway (who always sounds like Winnie the Pooh, and has some bad comedy right when things are getting tense.)

The majority of the film takes place inside this beautiful art deco bank, possibly the most impressive bank set I've ever seen. The camera prowls around the space but never lets the design overshadow the people. Some people may get Capra's corn stuck in their teeth, but I think he keeps a good amount of bitter in his bittersweet endings. While the ending may stretch credibility (because it's so rushed compared to the dramatic build) I would've been less satisfied with a more cynical resolution.
Rating: * * * 1/2
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: DarkeningHumour on September 30, 2015, 04:30:53 AM
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Arsenic and Old Lace
It's a Wonderful Life
It Happened One Night


It Happened One Night
You Can't Take It with You
Arsenic and Old Lace
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It's a Wonderful Life


Ouch...
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on February 07, 2016, 07:03:07 PM
It Happened One Night (1934)
* * * 1/2
I last watched this just over 4 years ago when I was rebuilding my Top 100 (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8652.msg551859#msg551859). It just missed the list then and it dropped down a number of places today. I don't want to knock it because this is still one of the best romantic comedies ever made, but there's a comment I made then about some of the film being on autopilot which stuck out for me even more this time. So this is a downgrade of half a star and it's no longer my favorite Capra (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9005.msg714928#msg714928), though it will still make my Essentials list.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 16, 2016, 07:19:41 PM
Just realized that I did see You Can't Take It With You when I was younger.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Arsenic and Old Lace
You Can't Take It With You
It's a Wonderful Life
It Happened One Night
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on February 25, 2016, 10:58:06 PM
Having recently re-watched my Top 2, I'm revising my list (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9005.msg714928#msg714928) and putting You Can't Take It With You at the top. There are small moments in Mr. Smith that don't work for me anymore, like punching the reporters and Saunders drinking with Diz. Both films have great casts, but Lionel Barrymore is perhaps my favorite of both ensembles.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: Sandy on February 25, 2016, 11:08:03 PM
Have we talked about why you've got It's a Wonderful Life in yellow? It looks so forgotten down there on your list.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on February 25, 2016, 11:40:29 PM
One of my most unpopular opinions, along with Dr. Strangelove and 8 1/2. All three films I've watched 3 times hoping it would click.

Except for the leaky house and losing the robe it just didn't charm me. The darker material comes though clear, but the typical Capraesque magic left me cold. Also Donna Reed is a blank for me.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: Sandy on February 26, 2016, 07:55:46 PM
 :D

That is the darndest thing I've ever read!

I don't even know what to say about it, except I'm glad that you like the leaky house. That honeymoon scene is perhaps my favorite scene in all the world. It inspires me to no end.
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: pixote on February 26, 2016, 08:49:36 PM
Can I have $17.50?

pixote
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: Sandy on February 26, 2016, 09:01:27 PM
*big kiss*

Bless your heart, pixote! :)
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: Corndog on March 29, 2016, 02:08:30 PM
1. It's a Wonderful Life (4)
2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (4)
3. It Happened One Night (3.5)
4. You Can't Take It With You (3)
5. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (3)
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on July 05, 2016, 11:29:06 AM
(http://imgur.com/wBDwuTz.jpg)
A Hole in the Head (1959)

Late period Capra casts Frank Sinatra as a perpetual loser who is about to lose his hotel, his freebird girlfriend (Addams Family's Carolyn Jones) and his 12-year-old son. The kid is in a sort of custody battle with Sinatra's brother, played by Edward G. Robinson and his wife, Thelma Ritter.

The problem with the film is that the script goes out of its way to make Sinatra incapable of making any good decisions. It didn't need that much help when the option of Robinson and Ritter is so appealing. Screen time spent with Ol' Blue Eyes is largely a drag while every moment with the two legends is delightful. Robinson digs back into his Larceny Inc. days, grabbing verbal laughs out of seeing ice cubes with holes in the middle and visual ones with a chair he can't figure out how to sit in. Even Sinatra looks like he'd rather be with Ritter than anyone else on screen. I would love to see the film re-cut to put the focus where it belongs.
Rating: * *
Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: 1SO on April 05, 2018, 12:11:06 AM
(https://imgur.com/gmCBSWB.jpg)

Updated Rankings (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=9005.msg714928#msg714928)

Long Pants (1927)
★ ★ ★ – Okay
I always think of Capra in terms of his strong screenplays, but his sense of evocative visual storytelling is as strong as John Ford. This never reaches the delirious heights of the silent comedy masters, but there are some amusing bits and the overall story, while simplistic, is told with a great deal of sophistication.

The Matinee Idol (1928)
★ ★ ★ – Good
Even without words, the Capra sentiment found in the joys of living is impossible to miss. It’s The Room 75 years earlier and self-aware, with a company of actors putting their hearts and souls into their play and failing miserably, only to find acclaim as unintentional comedy. Must the show go on in this form? Is it better to entertain unintentionally than to be true to yourself and make everyone miserable? Capra really digs into this by focusing as much on the writer, tears in his eyes while everyone around him is laughing. It’s too bad about the blackface, which I know will turn off most of you, because there’s a lot of good here.

The Power of the Press (1928)
★ ★ ★ – Good
A cub reporter (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) gets involved in murder and political corruption. The crime story is simplified by basic character types, but this is a very entertaining film with a generally upbeat tone you’d expect from Capra that doesn’t work against the main story. I can’t imagine the film being very different if Capra had made it with sound. The story and filmmaking never takes being silent as a liability.

Broadway Bill (1934)
★ ★ ½
Capra was so unsatisfied he remade this years later as Riding High. The remake is better directed and replacing Warner Baxter with Bing Crosby is a major improvement, but this version has a great early dramatic turn by Myrna Loy and the richest part for character actor Clarence Muse. Doesn't matter because this has the same terrible ending and sensing it was coming cast a dark cloud over everything leading up to it. I still don't get the reason for it.
 

Title: Re: Capra, Frank
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on April 05, 2018, 03:00:12 AM
It's A Wonderful Life, 40°

I was quite underwhelmed by this movie.