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Who is the best Oscar-winning director of all time?

Capra? Coppola? Bigelow? Our chief film critic crowns one of five nominees the Oscar of Oscars champion – and reveals who you picked as your winner

Catch up on the full list of nominees

After announcing the nominees last week, we begin our Oscar of Oscars all-time list with best director. In no other category has this choice been more painful, because, rightly or wrongly, the director is often seen as a film’s all-powerful creator: a film director’s authorial rights are even enshrined in EU law. The director liaises with the casting director and works with the actors, rehearsing them, shaping their performances. The director consults with the cinematographer, framing shots, and decides which take to use. The director makes decisions under pressure on set and on location about the look and feel of what is being shot. And of course the director accumulates prestige and respect — part of
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Lost Horizon (1937)

It’s a wonder movie from the 1930s, a political fantasy that imagines a Utopia of peace and kindness hidden away in a distant mountain range — or in our daydreams. Sony’s new restoration is indeed impressive. Ronald Colman is seduced by a vision of a non-sectarian Heaven on Earth, while Savant indulges his anti-Frank Capra grumblings in his admiring but hesitant review essay.

Lost Horizon (1937)

80th Anniversary Blu-ray + HD Digital


1937 / B&W / 1:37 Academy / 133 min. / Street Date October 3, 2017 / 19.99

Starring: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton, John Howard, Thomas Mitchell, Margo, Isabel Jewell, H.B. Warner, Sam Jaffe, Noble Johnson, Richard Loo.

Cinematography: Joseph Walker

Film Editors: Gene Havelick, Gene Milford

Art Direction: Stephen Goosson

Musical director: Max Steiner

Original Music: Dimitri Tiomkin

Written by Robert Riskin from the novel by James Hilton

Produced and Directed by Frank Capra

Frank Capra had a way with actors and comedy
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"Tear Down the Fences": Watching Capra in the Age of Trump

  • MUBI
The retrospective Frank Capra, The American Dreamer is showing April 10 - May 31, 2017 in the United Kingdom.Frank CapraFrank Capra has fallen badly out of fashion in recent decades. While still well-known for the extraordinary Depression-era purple patch that produced It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), the critics have rarely been kind. His work is routinely derided as “Capra-corn” for its perceived sentimentality and “fairy tale” idealism while the man himself is written off in favour of contemporaries Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch.Elliot Stein, writing in Sight & Sound in 1972, attacked Capra’s “fantasies of good will, which at no point conflict with middle-class American status quo values”, arguing that his “shrewdly commercial manipulative tracts” consist of little more than “philistine-populist notions and greeting-card sentiments”. Pauline Kael found him “softheaded,” Derek Malcolm a huckster hawking “cosily absurd fables.” To an extent,
See full article at MUBI »

‘It Happened One Night’ Blu-Ray Review

Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas, Alan Hale, Arthur Hoyt, Blanche Friderici | Screenplay by Robert Riskin | Directed by Frank Capra

Spoiled but spirited socialite Ellie (Claudette Colbert) flees her privileged life commandeered by her overbearing father and ends up sharing a bus ride across America with cynical, hard-drinking newspaperman Peter (Clark Gable). If you think you know how that story ends you’re probably right, but audiences in 1934 wouldn’t have seen the inevitable romantic and comedic scenes coming; we may be used to the road-trip, odd-couple romance by now (it’s practically a subgenre all by itself), but It Happened One Night was the first of its kind.

Following a row aboard her father’s boat, Ellie dives into the harbour and enlists the help of an older woman so that she can buy a Greyhound bus ticket cross-country to Miami. The motivation behind
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Blu-ray Review – It Happened One Night (1934)

It Happened One Night, 1934.

Directed by Frank Capra.

Starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Kerns and Jameson Thomas.


Ellen ‘Ellie’ Andrews, a spoiled heiress, runs away to elope with her handsome pilot fiancee. Along the way, she meets down on his luck reporter Peter Warne, and realises maybe her future isn’t what she expected at all…

A picture perhaps these days lost underneath the more famed ‘screwball comedies’ of the Golden Age of Hollywood, It Happened One Night nonetheless may be the very first example of that formative genre within early Hollywood. It sits among cinematic legend for more than one reason – its position on the cusp of enforcement of the infamous ‘Hays Code’ which imposed a moral stricture on Hollywood for decades, akin to photographic prohibition almost; and it’s place as the very first movie to win in all five major categories at the
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

“You Can’T Take It With You” (Directed by Frank Capra; 1938) Sony Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
“Can’T Buy Me Love”

By Raymond Benson

Frank Capra was a superstar Hollywood director in the 1930s. He had a string of critically-acclaimed and successful pictures after joining Columbia Pictures and elevating the studio from “poverty row” to a force that competed with the big leagues. Two of Capra’s Columbia movies won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Capra became the first filmmaker to win the Oscar for Best Director three times, all within five years. You Can’t Take it With You was Capra’s second Best Picture winner and his third Best Director achievement.

Sometimes his films have been called “Capra-corn,” because they are usually steeped in Americana, explore themes of social class inequality, feature casts of eccentric—but lovable—protagonists and greedy, heartless villains, and contain stories about the Everyman’s struggle against the Establishment. Capra was also one of the developers of the screwball comedy,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

You Can’t Take It with You

Frank Capra won his third Best Directing Oscar for this Kaufman and Hart adaptation. Star Jean Arthur is radiant, and relative newcomer James Stewart seems to have lifted his 'aw shucks' nice-guy personal from his role. With Lionel Barrymore, Ann Miller, Dub Taylor, Spring Byington and a terrific Edward Arnold. You Can't Take It with You Blu-ray + Digital HD Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 1938 / B&W / 1:37 flat / 126 min. / Street Date December 8, 2015 / 19.99 Starring Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Edward Arnold, Mischa Auer, Ann Miller, Spring Byington, Samuel S. Hinds, Donald Meek, H.B. Warner, Halliwell Hobbes, Dub Taylor, Mary Forbes, Lillian Yarbo, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson. Cinematography Joseph Walker Art Direction Stephen Goosson Film Editor Gene Havlick Original Music Dimitri Tiomkin Written by Robert Riskin from the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart Produced and Directed by Frank Capra

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

One of Frank Capra's brightest, most entertaining features,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

‘Annie Hall’ Named Funniest Screenplay by WGA Members

‘Annie Hall’ Named Funniest Screenplay by WGA Members
Annie Hall” has been named the funniest screenplay in voting by the members of the Writers Guild of America.

The script by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman topped “Some Like it Hot,” “Groundhog Day,” “Airplane!” and “Tootsie,” which make up the rest of the top five. “Young Frankenstein,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” rounded out the top 10.

The awards for the 101 funniest screenplays were announced at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood at the conclusion of two hours of panel discussions and clips, hosted by Rob Reiner. He noted that his “This Is Spinal Tap” script had finished at the No. 11 spot — a coincidence that recalled the “go to 11” amplifier joke in the film.

The “Annie Hall” screenplay won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1977. Allen had six other scripts on the list — “Sleeper,” “Bananas,” “Take the Money and Run,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cummings Pt.2: Working with Capra and West, Fighting Columbia in Court

Constance Cummings in 'Night After Night.' Constance Cummings: Working with Frank Capra and Mae West (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Actress Went from Harold Lloyd to Eugene O'Neill.”) Back at Columbia, Harry Cohn didn't do a very good job at making Constance Cummings feel important. By the end of 1932, Columbia and its sweet ingenue found themselves in court, fighting bitterly over stipulations in her contract. According to the actress and lawyer's daughter, Columbia had failed to notify her that they were picking up her option. Therefore, she was a free agent, able to offer her services wherever she pleased. Harry Cohn felt otherwise, claiming that his contract player had waived such a notice. The battle would spill over into 1933. On the positive side, in addition to Movie Crazy 1932 provided Cummings with three other notable Hollywood movies: Washington Merry-Go-Round, American Madness, and Night After Night. 'Washington Merry-Go-Round
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

‘The Strange Love of Martha Ivers’ is a demonstration of why melodrama is not an inherently bad thing

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Written by Robert Rossen, Robert Riskin

Directed by Lewis Milestone

U.S.A., 1946

As a teenager, Martha Ivers (Janis Wilson) was a petulant rebel who regularly struck the ire of her caretaking aunt, a wicked woman prone to sucking the joy out of Martha’s life even though she offers the youngling a home in her plush Pennsylvania estate. One of the teen’s attempts to run away with street smart Sam Masterson (Darryl Hickman) changes the rest of her life in ways she could never have anticipated. Caught by the police once again and sent back home, Martha unleashes her frustrations on her aunt, murdering her in the process. The only witness to the killing is young Walter O’Neil (Mickey Kuhn), son of Martha’s tutor. Martha claims an intruder killed the vile old creature amidst a frantic escape. Flash forward years
See full article at SoundOnSight »

'It Happened One Night' (1934) - Best Movies #8

The above exchange from Frank Capra's romantic gem It Happened One Night doesn't necessarily give you any insight into the plot. Without the knowledge of what came before, or the visual of Claudet Colbert as spoiled sophisticate Ellie Andrews warily climbing into the car with the man she's traveled alongside from Florida to New York City, the joke probably doesn't pack much of an umph. But once you've seen this 1935 Best Picture winner as many times as I have, you never know which lines will jump out and make you laugh more than you previously did in the past. It Happened One Night is one of those wonderful Hollywood accidents. Neither Colbert nor her co-star, Clark Gable, were the first choices for the lead roles. In fact, it wasn't until Colbert won for Best Actress that she publicly thanked Capra for making the film (despite not even attending the Oscars,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Three 1930s Capra Classics Tonight: TCM's Jean Arthur Mini-Festival

Jean Arthur films on TCM include three Frank Capra classics Five Jean Arthur films will be shown this evening, Monday, January 5, 2015, on Turner Classic Movies, including three directed by Frank Capra, the man who helped to turn Arthur into a major Hollywood star. They are the following: Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can't Take It with You, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; George Stevens' The More the Merrier; and Frank Borzage's History Is Made at Night. One the most effective performers of the studio era, Jean Arthur -- whose film career began inauspiciously in 1923 -- was Columbia Pictures' biggest female star from the mid-'30s to the mid-'40s, when Rita Hayworth came to prominence and, coincidentally, Arthur's Columbia contract expired. Today, she's best known for her trio of films directed by Frank Capra, Columbia's top director of the 1930s. Jean Arthur-Frank Capra
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

New on Video: ‘It Happened One Night’

It Happened One Night

Directed by Frank Capra

Written by Robert Riskin

USA, 1934

When Frank Capra came upon the 1933 Samuel Hopkins Adams story “Night Bus,” he thought it would make a great film. He bought the property and took it to screenwriter Robert Riskin, with whom he had worked a few years prior on Platinum Blonde (1931). The script was set to be Capra’s next feature for Columbia, then a lower-rung studio where he was their preeminent director. The problem? Nobody wanted to make the film. Several top actors and actresses of the day turned down the picture, Robert Montgomery, Carole Lombard, and Myrna Loy among them. Clark Gable, not yet the caliber of star he would become, eventually accepted the male lead, and Claudette Colbert eventually (and reluctantly) took the female lead … under the condition that her $25,000 salary would be doubled, which it was. The film’s entire budget
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Maureen O’Hara, Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Brooks and Margaret O’Brien Join Lineup for 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has added an exciting roster of screen legends and beloved titles to the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival, including appearances by Maureen O’Hara, Mel Brooks and Margaret O’Brien, plus a two-film tribute to Academy Award®-winner Richard Dreyfuss. Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.

O’Hara will present the world premiere restoration of John Ford’s Oscar®-winning Best Picture How Green Was My Valley (1941), while Brooks will appear at a screening of his western comedy Blazing Saddles (1974). O’Brien will be on-hand for Vincente Minnelli’s perennial musical favorite Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), starring Judy Garland. The tribute to Dreyfuss will consist of a double feature of two of his most popular roles: his Oscar®-winning performance
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Leonard Maltin and 'Lady For a Day' at the Paramount

Tickets are currently on sale for a special screening of Frank Capra's 1933 film Lady for a Day at the Paramount. On hand to introduce the movie, and to talk more about classic films in general, will be film critic and historian Leonard Maltin. Maltin was one of the proponents for making this movie available on Blu-ray, and the event will include a rare 35mm projection of the classic, thanks to a loan from the Capra estate.

Lady for a Day is early Capra, made before he really burst on the scene with his big hit It Happened One Night. It's adapted from a Damon Runyon story by Robert Riskin, who continued to team up with Capra on many other movies in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The movie stars May Robson (whom I know best for her role as the daunting Aunt Elizabeth/Mrs. Carlton-Random in my favorite Bringing Up Baby) as Apple Annie,
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Receiving a Phone Message from Kong Star Wray

Fay Wray and John Monk Saunders, later film career [See previous article: "Fay Wray King Kong: Never a Superstar."] Robert Riskin died in 1955. Wray had been previously married (1928-1939) to writer and aviator John Monk Saunders, a Best Original Story Oscar winner for the aviation drama The Dawn Patrol (1930), and the writer of two Fay Wray movies: the aforementioned Legion of the Condemned and The Finger Points. An alcoholic who developed a serious drug problem during his marriage to Wray, Saunders committed suicide in 1940, the year after the couple’s separation became final. (Photo: Fay Wray and Jack Holt in Frank Capra’s [...]
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Fall In Love: The Playlist's Favorite Romantic Comedies

Few genres of film inspire more personal responses than the romantic comedy. Given how much of our lives is spent on love and romance (falling into it, falling out of it, chasing it, giving up on it), it's no surprise that the rom-com has remained one of the most popular formulas since the dawn of cinema, and while the genre has undisputed classics, you can end up cherishing certain films purely because of their connection to your own life. They can help pull you out of a post break-up tailspin, they can comfort you through unrequited love, and, if a film hits you at the height of your passion for someone, they can end up associated forever, even blinding you to the movie's flaws -- seeing "Elizabethtown" in the midst of first love left this writer swooning after exiting the theater (thankfully, a subsequent rewatch put me straight as to how terrible it is.
See full article at The Playlist »

A Capra Classic Made Whole

A year before It Happened One Night famously swept the Oscars, Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin made Lady for a Day, which earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture—but because it was withheld from TV and 16mm distribution for years, it never attained the widespread awareness and residual affection that other Capra classics have always enjoyed. A new, beautifully restored DVD and Blu-ray from Inception Media—with a sequence that was missing from an earlier dvd release—may help to remedy that injustice. Oddly enough, it was Capra himself who pulled Lady for a Day from circulation, so that it wouldn’t be compared to his 1961 remake,...

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See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

25 Days of Christmas: ‘Meet John Doe’ is familiar, but fun

Throughout the month of December, TV Editor Kate Kulzick and Film Editor Ricky D will review classic Christmas adaptions, posting a total of 13 each, one a day, until the 25th of December.

The catch: They will swap roles as Rick will take on reviews of classic television Christmas specials and Kate will take on Christmas movies. Today is day 8.

Meet John Doe (1941)

Screenplay by Robert Riskin

Story by Richard Connell and Robert Presnell, Sr.

Directed by Frank Capra

What’s it about?

A journalist, Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) dreams up an article to save her job and winds up entangled with John Doe, her fictional creation, Long John Willoughby (Gary Cooper), the man hired to play him, and the men who seek to exploit them all.

How is it?

Capra’s Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life may have the holiday locked down, but this pleasing entry deserves a look as well.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Claudette Colbert on TCM: Boom Town, Parrish, Midnight, Outpost In Malaya

Mostly a Paramount star, Claudette Colbert hasn't been a frequent presence on Turner Classic Movies — that is, apart from reruns of her relatively few movies at MGM, Warner Bros., and Rko. Unfortunately, TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" day dedicated to Colbert — Friday, August 12 — won't rectify that glaring cinematic omission. [Claudette Colbert Movie Schedule.] Despite the fact that dozens of Claudette Colbert movies remain unavailable — thanks to Universal, owner of the old Paramount movie library — TCM is only presenting one Colbert premiere, Ken Annakin's British-made 1952 drama The Planter's Wife / Outpost in Malaya, co-starring Jack Hawkins. Of course, one rarely seen movie is better than none, but still… Think The Wiser Sex, The Lady Lies, Manslaughter, Young Man of Manhattan, The Phantom President (in case it's lying in some vault somewhere), The Man from Yesterday, Misleading Lady, His Woman, Zaza, Secrets of a Secretary, I Met Him in Paris, Texas Lady, Practically Yours, Skylark, Private Worlds,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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