SPHE Press Release: The Premiere Frank Capra Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    CELEBRATE ONE OF THE MOST HONORED AND RESPECTED DIRECTORS OF ALL TIME THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

    THE PREMIERE FRANK CAPRA COLLECTION


    - Includes Academy® Award-Winners “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “You Can’t Take it With You,” “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” “It Happened One Night,” and never-before-released on DVD, “American Madness” – Plus a bonus disc and collectible Movie Scrapbook filled with essays on each film and never-before-seen photographs.

    CULVER CITY, CALIF. (September 25, 2006) – Commemorate one of the most celebrated legends in Hollywood history when Sony Pictures Home Entertainment debuts THE PREMIERE FRANK CAPRA COLLECTION on DVD December 5, a 6-disc collectible box set featuring five of Frank Capra’s best films. The digitally re-mastered set includes Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, You Can’t Take it With You, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, It Happened One Night and American Madness. The DVD box set includes a bonus disc packed with all-new interviews, archival footage, plus Frank Capra’s American Dream documentary hosted by Ron Howard and produced by Capra’s eldest son, Frank Capra, Jr. (An Eye for an Eye, Marooned). Just in time for the holiday season, this Premiere Collection features commentaries for each film, along with a 96- page collectible Movie Scrapbook that will be available for a SRP of $59.95.

    Designated the “Number One Director in Hollywood” by Time Magazine in 1938 and voted by Entertainment Weekly (April 19th issue, 1996) as one of the greatest directors of all time, Capra has received numerous industry awards and accolades over the course of his successful career including three Best Director Oscars®. All three films that he won Best Director Oscars for are included in this set.

    In 1935, Capra was honored with his first Academy Award® for Best Director for the film It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. This was the first picture in the history of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive all of the “Big Five” awards: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Writing. Capra also won Academy Awards for his films Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Best Director) and You Can’t Take it With You (Best Picture and Best Director). Most recently, Capra was honored posthumously at the 2006 AFI Awards, and became the second most-represented filmmaker (behind Steven Spielberg) on AFI’s “100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time”, with four of his films on the list including Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

    Capra was a populist, and the simplicity of his narrative structures focused on the great social problems facing America, which boiled down to scenarios where metaphorical boy scouts took on corrupt political bosses and evil-minded industrialists. During his reign in the 1930’s Depression era, the country was down but not out and the ultimate success of the individual in the Capra films was a bracing tonic.

    Capra’s films that are featured in this Premiere Collection include the work of Hollywood’s classic leading men and women including: James Stewart (It’s a Wonderful Life, Vertigo), Jean Arthur (Only Angels Have Wings, The Devil and Miss Jones), Claudette Colbert (Secrets of a Secretary, Misleading Lady), Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind, Saratoga), Lionel Barrymore (Key Largo, It’s a Wonderful Life), Harry Carey (The Babe Ruth Story, Red River), Gary Cooper (The Westerner, Alice in Wonderland) and George Bancroft (A Doctor’s Diary, Stagecoach).



    American Madness (1932)

    Set in the 1930’s Depression Era, American Madness, tells the story of bank president Thomas Dickso (Walter Huston), who has making loans to depositors without sufficient collateral. When his Board of Directors question a few “risky” loans, Dickson finds himself in the hot seat. The situation gets worse when a corrupt employee robs the bank. It’s up to his loyal staff to rally local businessmen to make more deposits, which enable the directors to keep the bank afloat, thus saving Dickson’s job. Released shortly after FDR’s New Deal, this film whole-heartedly espoused Roosevelt’s ideals. Written by Robert Riskin, American Madness, is not rated and has a run time of 76 minutes.


    It Happened One Night (1934)

    It Happened One Night follows the antics of heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) as she attempts to escape the clutches of her strong willed father. In this attempt, Ellie marries a man her father hates, fortune hunter and society aviator, King Westley (Jameson Thomas). As a result of this marriage, Ellie is whisked away from King to her father’s yacht. Ellie eventually jumps ship and travels across the country to get back to her husband. On route, Ellie meets out-of-work reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable) and reluctantly helps him get his job back by selling her story. Gable won his only Oscar for his stellar performance this film. Written by Robert Riskin, It Happened One Night¸ is not rated and has a run time of 105 minutes.


    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

    After his uncle’s death, small-town idealist, Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) travels to New York to collect his $20 million inheritance. While there, Deeds becomes everyone’s target, from the greedy opera committee to the daily newspaper. Deeds clashes with the cynical news editor, Mac Wade (George Bancroft), who does not fall for Deeds image of a simple, honest man. Deeds eventually finds romance with reporter Louise Bennett (Jean Arthur), who is assigned to interview Deeds and she is moved by his honesty and decency. Deeds later discovers that his newly found fortune has caused him nothing but headache and eventually he decides to give it all away. Written by Robert Riskin, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is not rated and has a run time of 115 minutes.


    You Can’t Take it With You (1938)

    Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), the unusual patriarch of a clan of frustrated artists, decides to retire from the rat-race and use his fortune to encourage friends and family to pursue all types of strange and interesting jobs. Vanderhof’s granddaughter, Alice (Jean Arthur), the only one in the family who has a normal job working as a receptionist in the offices of a shady businessman, falls in love with her boss’ son. However, she fears his father would never approve of the marriage to someone in the crazed Vanderhof family. So the family tries to act normal for one night to impress her potential in-laws, but it all goes awry. Written by Robert Riskin, You Can’t Take it With You, is not rated and has a run time of 126 minutes.


    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

    When state Senator Samuel Foley dies, Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), local hero and innocent, wide-eyed idealist, is elected interim Senator. While at Capitol Hill, Smith discovers nothing but deep-rooted corruption, and refusing to submit to the norm, he diligently takes the message of the American people to their out of touch representatives. Frank Capra shows American democratic ideals in peril, with only the naïve and the pure of spirit able to lead the nation back to its principles. Written by Sidney Buchman and Lewis Foster, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is not rated and has a run time of 129 minutes.



    DVD BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE

    Completely digitally remastered for the best possible quality picture and sound
    “Frank Capra Jr. remembers…” featurette for each film
    Commentaries for each film

    Bonus disc includes:
    Featurettes:
    Interviewees include: Frank Capra Jr., Ken Bowser: Frank Capra Documentarian, Richard Pena: Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jeanine Bassinger: Curator: Frank Capra Archives, Wesleyan Cinema Archives
    Frank Capra’s American Dream documentary hosted by Ron Howard


    DVD Catalog #: 15218
    DVD UPC Code: 0-43396-15218-2
    DVD Order Date: 11/2/06
    DVD SLP: $59.95
     
  2. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    How can they dare to call this "Premiere" and leave out Lost Horizon?

    Once again Sony bungles it when it comes to vintage films on DVD- pity Warner Bros. doesn't own the classic 1930s Capra catalog.
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Does anyone know if we should be expecting significant upgrades in picture quality on these titles? I already own them all except Mr. Deeds (a shortcoming on my part) and American Madness.

    How about Meet John Doe? Any release I've seen of this seems like a low-budget public domain issue. Are there any of quality?
     
  4. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I have the same concerns as Charles and Mike.

    I have all of the titles except for American Madness and some digital clean-up is certainly not worth a double-dip on all of these titles. I would love to have the documentary on Capra, but I'll rent it unless there is something else spectacular about this set.

    Why not make this a defnitive set by including "Lost Horizon" & if possible "Meet John Doe" (Does Sony control this title?)
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I managed to hold off on all of the previously released titles except for "It Happened One Night" even though I was very tempted to get them, so this will be a sweet deal for me.

    Regards,
     
  6. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    Wasn't PLATINUM BLONDE mentioned at one time as being part of the bundle?
     
  7. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    The films in the Cary Grant set from Sony had noticeably better picture quality then the previous individually released films included in that set.
    Its a shame "Lost Horizon" is not included. It would be nice if they would release a version of Lost Horizon without the still pictures used for missing footage. Of course it would be nicer if they found the missing footage.

    I am looking forward to this set and will be double dipping.

    I had asked about this set a few times. I glad it has finally been announced.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It Happened One Night looks stunning on the existing DVD. Mr. Smith has a bit of very faint nitrate decomposition over some parts.
     
  9. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Mr. Smith was photochemically restored for a future DVD release as of two years ago when a nearly final restoration print screened at the Samuel Goldwyn. It should be stunning and a new transfer if the 'digitally remastered' is actually new transfers rather than just double speak.

    Hopefully You can't Take it With You got a new transfer and restoration as well, iirc the first DVD release was terrible.
     
  10. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    True. But, IIRC, the audio on It Happened One Night was weak in a few spots (which would be expected for a film of that age)...but I don't think even a marked improvement would get me to upgrade now.
     
  11. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I will be happy as I don't have any of the films mentioned yet
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Platinum Blonde and Lost Horizon should've been included in this collection as well - even if they would've had to raise the msrp a few bucks.

    Platinum Blonde was initially a bare bones release, and is one title which could've benefited from a featurette, commentary, and a better transfer.

    Another missed opportunity.

    I believe that Columbia/Sony own a early non-Capra Harlow title called "Three Wise Girls." Needless to say, this will probably never see the light of day on DVD as Sony appears to have slowed down the release of their classic titles.
     
  13. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    Glad I held off [​IMG] Haven't had a Capra binge in years. [​IMG]
     
  14. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    I wonder who the commentators are.
     
  15. Rick Z.

    Rick Z. Stunt Coordinator

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    I just hope that the commentaries are not by Frank Capra Jr. I don't know about you guys but I would rather appreciate an essay by Jeanine Basinger or Richard Schickel or some film scholar.
     
  16. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Basinger - yes! She does a great track for Sergeant York.

    Schickel - no! He's a bore in this commentaries...
     
  17. Casey C.

    Casey C. Stunt Coordinator

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    ARGH!

    PREMIERE = first
    PREMIER = best

    Maybe they just mean this is the first collection of Capra DVDs ever!

    This concludes this pet peeve.

    On another note: Does the box leave some extra space so we can slide in the 60th anniversary edition of "It's a Wonderful Life" from Paramount?
     
  18. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Casey: Good catch!

    No excuse, but I would guess many of us missed it because "premiere" is so commonly associated with films. I actually suppose they could mean the first-ever collection of his films on DVD...maybe.
     
  19. Jefty

    Jefty Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm almost positive I read that the commentary-tracks WILL be by Frank Capra Jr.--which is absolutely disastrous, in my opinion... We can count on Junior to steamroll all of the complexities out of the films by consistently advancing the most sickeningly bland and "folksy" interpretations... A real "Premiere" set, in my mind, would feature commentary-tracks by people like Ray Carney (that link is to--quite possibly--the best book on film ever published!), Stanley Cavell, or Elizabeth Kendall...

    I don't have any particular quarrel with the films chosen (although I would actually have preferred to see a boxed set of the four Barbara Stanwyck melodramas from the early sound era; also, as others have mentioned, it would be nice to see one of the studios fixing up the public domain Meet John Doe, and Columbia is the logical company to do it, considering their historical link with Capra), but I can't do anything BUT quarrel with the manner in which they are being misrepresented as conservative fables for the American heartland...
     
  20. Richard M S

    Richard M S Supporting Actor

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    Frank Capra Jr? OK, that actually makes it easy then. With all the new releases in the next 2 months, especially those numerous Warners box sets, this one is definitely the one I am not buying.
     

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