Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success

Joseph McBride, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $27.5 (768p) ISBN 978-0-671-73494-7
Hollywood's champion of the ``common man'' during the Depression, director Frank Capra (1897-1991) kept the American dream alive with films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's A Wonderful Life . In this captivating biography the Sicilian immigrant filmmaker, admired for the liberal and proletarian sentiments of his movies, emerges as a deeply contradictory figure. Spurning his ethnic roots, ashamed of his parents, Capra lusted to be accepted by mainstream America. He was affiliated with conservative Republicans, spied on labor in the 1930s for powerful producers and collaborated surreptitiously with the McCarthyite witch hunt. Biographer of Orson Welles, McBride presents a man seething with bitterness, rage, self-doubt and sexual anxiety with his two wives. He analyzes Capra's reactionary idealization of small-town America and the misogynist undertones of his films. In a canvas crowded with stars like Claudette Colbert, Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper, McBride convincingly paints a great director who lost his touch after the late 1940s, unable to adjust to postwar Hollywood or to function independently. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992
Release date: 04/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 799 pages - 978-1-60473-838-4
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 800 pages - 978-1-60473-839-1
Paperback - 978-0-671-79788-1
Paperback - 799 pages - 978-0-312-26324-9
Show other formats
Discover what to read next