Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success

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Simon & Schuster, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 768 pages
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Frank Capra was the American success story, the immigrant from Sicily who not only realized the American dream but depicted it. Capra's films, particularly "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "Meet John Doe", and "It's a Wonderful Life" are national icons -- cherished monuments to the "common man". Yet as Joseph McBride reveals in this revised edition of his widely acclaimed biography, Capra was far more complex than anyone knew. Using recently declassified material about Capra's controversial dealings with Congress and the HUAC (House Unamerican Activities Committee) in the 1940s and 1950s, McBride adds a final chapter to his unforgettable portrait of Hollywood's most beloved director.

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Frank Capra: the catastrophe of success

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Capra is largely remembered today as a director whose films champion all-American optimism in a world where good ultimately triumphs. This exhaustively researched and densely--perhaps overly--detailed ... Read full review


A terrible wop
The Gag Man

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About the author (1993)

Joseph McBride, Berkeley, California, is a film historian and associate professor in the cinema department at San Francisco State University. His many books include "Searching for John Ford", "Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success"; "Hawks on Hawks"; and "What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait of an Independent Career".

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