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Overview for Frank Capra
Frank Capra

Frank Capra


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A Hole in the... With his master touch, legendary director Frank Capra (IT'S a WONDERFUL LIFE,... more info $11.35was $19.95 Buy Now

Pocketful of... Capricious, winsome, whimsical, and all together delightful! Superbly directed... more info $10.65was $19.95 Buy Now

George... The director's son put together this outstanding documentary of his father's... more info $14.95was $19.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died: September 3, 1991
Born: May 18, 1897 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Italy Profession: Director ...


Became a book salesman, selling Elbert Hubbard's "Little Journeys" door-to-door
Co-wrote--but did not direct--numerous shorts and two features; joined Hal Roach studios as a gagman of "Our Gang" comedies; hired as gag writer by Mack Sennett for Harry Langdon comedies
Earned Oscar nomination as Best Director for "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", with Stewart in the title role; last film for Columbia
First blockbuster hit, "It Happened One Night"; became first fim to sweep the top five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Riskin), Best Actor (Clark Gable) and Best Actress (Colbert)
First real talkie, "The Younger Generation"; "Submarine" had sound effects and snatches of dialogue
Hustled a living as a poker player and sold wildcat mining stocks
Received last Academy Award nomination as Best Director for "It's a Wonderful Life", starring Stewart; Swerling contributed additional scenes
Short film directing debut, "The Ballad of Fultah Fisher's Boarding House/Fultah Fisher's Boarding House"; made in San Francisco for Shakespearean actor Walter Montague's new studio
Went to NYC where he directed Claudette Colbert in her film debut, "For the Love of Mike"
Worked as prop man, film editor and gagman for Bob Eddy
Directed last feature "A Pocketful of Miracles", a remake of "Lady for a Day"
Earned first Academy Award nomination for Best Director for "Lady for a Day", adapted by Riskin from a Damon Runyan story
Enlisted in US Army as a private after college graduation; taught ballistics and mathematics to artillerymen at Fort Scott, San Francisco; demobilized with rank of second lieutentant
Fifth and last collaboration for 14 years with Swerling, "Forbidden"
First collaboration with screenwriter Robert Riskin, "Platinum Blonde"
Last film with Langdon, "Long Pants"
Reteamed with Crosby for "Here Comes the Groom"; 11th and last collaboration with Riskin
Solo feature directing debut, "The Strong Man", starring Langdon
Spent sixth birthday in steerage on the "Germania" en route from Italy to USA; moved with family to California; sold newspapers and played banjo in Los Angeles honky-tonks to pay for education
Apprenticed at Walter Bell's small film lab where he printed, dried and spliced amateur films and dailies for Hollywood comedy director Bob Eddy
Commissioned as a major in the US Army Signal Corps; produced all, and directed some, of the films in the "Why We Fight" and "Know Your Ally/Know Your Enemy" documentary series; discharged after WWII with rank of colonel
Directed "Riding High", a remake of his earlier "Broadway Bill" (1934), starring Bing Crosby
Formed Frank Capra Productions with Riskin
Formed Liberty Films with production head Samuel Briskin, William Wyler and George Stevens which made only one film, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946); Liberty Films sold to Paramount in 1948
Joined Harry Cohn's Columbia Pictures as a director; contract called for relatively paltry sum of $1000 a picture but gave Capra complete control of his projects, the first being "That Certain Thing"; helmed eight more features that year with "Submarine" establishing him as a bankable director
Moved back onto the Columbia lot to begin pre-production on "Marooned"; blaming then-studio chief Mike Frankovich for forcing him to submit to what he considered unreasonable script approvals and budgets, left this pet film project and officially retired; picture eventually released in 1969 with John Sturges at the helm
Produced, directed and wrote four educational science documentaries for Bell Telephone: "Our Mr. Sun", "Hemo The Magnificent", "Strange Case of Cosmic Rays" and "Unchained Goddess"
Weighed in with the first of his social comedies, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", winning second Best Director Academy Award
Briefly Returned to work for Sennett
Co-directed (uncredited) and co-wrote Harry Edwards' "Tramp Tramp Tramp", starring Langdon
Co-scripted (with Arthur Ripley) Edwards' "His First Flame", starring Langdon
Earned third Best Director Oscar for film version of George S Kaufman and Moss Hart's stage hit, "You Can't Take It with You"; first of three films with actor James Stewart
First collaboration with screenwriter Jo Swerling, "Ladies of Leisure"
Left Hollywood with his wife to settle in La Quinta, California
Retired to his ranch; worked with CalTech on Defense Department project studying psychological warfare; went to India as US State Department emissary to a film festival that the USA feared would be controlled by Communists; had security clearance delays due to content of "State of the Union" (1948)
Shot last film, "Rendezvous in Space", a short made for the Martin-Marietta Corporation
Suffered a series of minor strokes and was under 24-hour nursing care in the late 1980s

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