- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Frank Capra: The Castastrophe of Successby Joseph Mcbride
Synopses & Reviews
Moviegoers often assume Frank Capra's life resembled his beloved films: as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or It's a Wonderful Life, a man of the people faces tremendous odds and, by doing the right thing, triumphs. But as Joseph McBride reveals in this meticulously researched, definitive biography, the reality was far more complex, a true American tragedy. Using newly declassified U.S. government documents about Capra's response to being considered a "subversive" during the post-World War II Red Scare, McBride adds a final chapter to his unforgettable portrait of the man who gave us It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and Meet John Doe.
"Huge, richly researched, absorbing revisionist biography of the filmmaker renowned for standing up for 'the little man'....Superb in every way." Kirkus Reviews
"Joseph McBride has found out a great deal about Frank Capra and has set it down in a lucid, inviting way. His book unrolls like a well-told tale....As a whole, McBride's book...takes on an importance that is unique for this kind of biography. It becomes essential to a true knowledge of the films by giving us truth about the man." Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"It is hard to believe that anyone who reads Frank Capra will ever be able to watch...[his] movies in quite the same way again. Instead of lively, socially conscious entertainments, one is apt to see the idealized fancies of an insecure immigrant parading his Americanism across the screen, or the contradictions of a parvenu who was contemptuous of the masses yet eager to please them." Barry Gewen, The New York Times Book Review
"This exhaustively researched and densely perhaps overly detailed biography uncovers the man behind the camera and simultaneously debunks much of what Capra wrote in his autobiography, The Name Above the Title....The director's flag waving concealed shame about his Sicilian heritage, writes McBride, and he was not adverse to being one of the greedy rich his films derided. The analysis of Capra's oeuvre, including his days as a gag writer, reveals much about his psyche. The author...has written the definitive work about another major American director." Library Journal
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.
About the Author
Joseph McBride is a film historian and critic whose books include Orson Welles, Hawks on Hawks and Steven Spielberg: A Biography. His next book, Searching for John Ford, will be published by St. Martin's Press. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like