• 304 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25
  • 25 halftones
  • Price: $33.95
  • EAN: 9781566396080
  • Publication: Mar 1998
  • Price: $59.50
  • EAN: 9781566396073
  • Publication: Apr 1998
  • Price: $33.95
  • EAN: 9781439904893
  • Publication: Mar 1998

Frank Capra

Authorship and the Studio System

Edited by Robert Sklar and Vito Zagarrio

Frank Capra's films have had a lasting impact on American culture. His powerful depiction of American values, myths, and ideals was central to such famous Hollywood films as It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life. These pre-war films are remembered for their depiction of an individual's overcoming adversity, populist politics, and an unflappable optimist view of life.

This collection of nine essays by leading international film historians analyzes Capra's filmmaking during his most prolific period, from 1928 to 1939, taking a closer look at the more complex aspects of his work. They trace his struggles for autonomy against Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn, his reputation as an auteur, and the ways in which working within studio modes of production may have enhanced the director's strengths.

The contributors also place their critiques within the context of the changing fortunes of the Hollywood studio system, the impact of the Depression, and Capra's working relationships with other studio staff and directors. The contributors' access to nineteen newly restored Capra films made at Columbia during this period fills this collection with some of the most comprehensive critiques available on the director's early body of work.


"The essays in this book are revealing and rich in insight into one of cinemas most important early directors and the economic entity which brought his work into being. Anyone interested in film history will find this to be a very readable and illuminating work." ForeWord

About the Author(s)

Robert Sklar, Professor of Cinema at New York University, is the co-editor (with Charles Musser) of Resisting Images: Essays on Cinema and History (Temple), and the author of numerous books on film, including Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies, City Boys: Cagney, Bogart, and Garfield, and Film: An International History of the Medium, winner of the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award.

Vito Zagarrio teaches film history at the University of Florence and film analysis at the University of Rome III, Italy.

In the Series

Culture and the Moving Image

No longer active. The Culture and the Moving Image series, edited by Robert Sklar, seeks to publish innovative scholarship and criticism on cinema, television, and the culture of the moving image. The series will emphasize works that view these media in their broad cultural and social frameworks. Its themes will include a global perspective on the world-wide production of images; the links between film, television, and video art; a concern with issues of race, class, and gender; and an engagement with the growing convergence of history and theory in moving image studies.