Before “Capraesque”: Early Frank Capra

1/16/10 to 2/27/10

What better time than now to revisit the work of Frank Capra, the celebrated Hollywood populist of the last Great Depression? This series showcases the range of Capra's early work, including many little-known gems in restored prints.

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  • American Madness, January 16

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Past Films

  • It Happened One Night

    • Saturday, February 27 6:30 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1934). “Reporter Clark Gable chases spoiled heiress Claudette Colbert across most of the eastern seaboard, pausing long enough between wisecracks to set the definitive tone of thirties screwball comedy. . . . This is Capra at his best.”-Chicago Reader (105 mins)

  • So This Is Love

    • Friday, February 26 7:00 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1928). Bruce Loeb on piano. Capra mocks the macho code in this breezy cheapie about a romantic rivalry taken all the way to the boxing ring. (65 mins)

  • The Bitter Tea of General Yen

    • Friday, February 26 8:30 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1933). Barbara Stanwyck plays a missionary who falls in the thrall of a ruthless but noble Chinese bandit in an atypical Capra classic that luxuriates in Sternbergian exoticism. (88 mins)

  • The Younger Generation

    • Thursday, February 25 7:00 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1929). Ricardo Cortez stars as a Jewish immigrant striving to rise above his origins in this part-talking, part-silent picture, an intriguing counterpoint to The Jazz Singer. (75 mins)

  • The Way of the Strong

    • Saturday, February 20 6:30 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1928). Judith Rosenberg on piano. A blind girl falls for “the world's ugliest man” in this over-the-top melodrama. With a trailer for the lost film Say It with Sables. (66 mins)

  • The Matinee Idol

    • Sunday, February 14 2:00 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1928). Introduced by Joseph McBride. Judith Rosenberg on piano. This theatrical burlesque focuses on a hammy tent company putting on a Civil War melodrama. With short Fiddlesticks. (c. 120 mins)

  • Rain or Shine

    • Friday, February 12 7:00 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1930). This early talkie is a delightful showpiece for Joe Cook, one of Broadway's most endearing clowns. (87 mins)

  • Platinum Blonde

    • Friday, February 12 8:50 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1931). An early example of the kind of class-conscious comedy for which Capra and writer Robert Riskin became famous. Jean Harlow plays a spoiled socialite who seduces a newspaperman away from fellow journalist Loretta Young. (88 mins)

  • Submarine

    • Saturday, February 6 8:20 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1928). Judith Rosenberg on piano. Capra established himself as an “A” director with this adventure saga based on real-life disasters involving Navy subs. (103 mins)

  • The Miracle Woman

    • Friday, January 29 7:00 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1931). Capra wedges a scathing critique of divinity-for-dollars into a Depression-era melodrama about a female evangelist, played by the miraculous Barbara Stanwyck. (91 mins)

  • Forbidden

    • Friday, January 29 8:50 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1932). Stanwyck stars as a woman living in secret devotion to a married man in this classic weepie. (87 mins)

  • Early Capra in the San Francisco Bay Area

    • Sunday, January 24 2:00 pm

    (U.S., 1921–22). Lecture by Joseph McBride. Judith Rosenberg on piano. Three films, including Capra's first fictional work as a director, offer fascinating glimpses of the Bay Area in the early twenties. (c. 120 mins)

  • The Strong Man

    • Sunday, January 17 2:00 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1926). Judith Rosenberg on piano. This comic fable stars Harry Langdon as a gullible immigrant whose experiences in America recall Capra's own. With Langdon short Saturday Afternoon. (102 mins)

  • Ladies of Leisure

    • Sunday, January 17 4:10 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1930). In her first film with Capra, Barbara Stanwyck plays a wisecracking adventuress par excellence. (98 mins)

  • American Madness

    • Saturday, January 16 8:40 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1932). Capra and writer Robert Riskin take on a bold and timely topic, for 1932 or for today: a crisis at a major bank. Walter Huston plays a financier modeled on the real-life head of the Bank of America. (76 mins)