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Frank Capra: The Early Collection DVD

SKU ID #375783
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Description
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Film Foundation and Turner Classic Movies present Frank Capra: The Early Collection, all fully restored and remastered.

LADIES OF LEISURE (1930)
Kay, a cynical, streetwise party girl lands a job as a model for aspiring painter Jerry Strong, the son of a wealthy railroad magnate. When their work sessions eventually evolve into a serious romantic relationship, Jerry’s status-conscious parents attempt to buy Kay off like a common prostitute. This movie marked Capra’s first association with Barbara Stanwyck (they would make five movies together) and his first feature with screenwriter Jo Swerling, who would become a frequent collaborator.

RAIN OR SHINE (1930)
Smiley Johnson, the manager of the Greater John T. Rainey Circus, must constantly wheel and deal to keep his traveling carnival operational and true to is promise of offering two shows a day. Complicating his mission is bad weather, internal saboteurs, poor business and pursuing creditors. Based on a hit 1928 Broadway musical, this rollicking comedy-drama omits the musical numbers, providing instead a rare screen showcase for vaudeville legend Joe Cook in the starring role.

THE MIRACLE WOMAN (1931)
Sister Fallon, a young woman with a gift for religious oratory, gains fame through the efforts of an unsavory promoter who stages phony "faith healings" during her services. At first seduced by the money, she soon goes weary of the deception and tries to escape the racket, a situation that becomes a genuine trial by fire. Loosely inspired by the famous California evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and Sinclair Lewis’s novel Elmer Gantry, THE MIRACLE WOMAN was one of Capra’s few boxoffice failures for Columbia Pictures but it remains a fascinating expose of religious charlatans and phony faith healers.

FORBIDDEN (1932)
On an ocean voyage, Lulu, a thrill-seeking, small town librarian, enters into a carefree affair with Bob Grover, a lawyer with major political ambitions. Even though she learns that Grover has an invalid wife and will never leave her, Lulu continues to carry on their affair in private, despite the fact that she now has an illegitimate child to consider. When a newspaper editor threatens to expose the couple publicly, tragedy ensues. Capra’s attempt to create a popular “women’s picture” in the style of a Fannie Hurst soap opera like Back Street is made credible by the strong performances of Barbara Stanwyck, Adolph Menjou and Ralph Bellamy.

BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (1933)
Set in war-torn Shanghai, this visually stunning melodrama opens as Megan, the financee of a missionary, arrives in China for their marriage. But their plans are interrupted by civil war and Megan finds herself caught in a riot after visiting an orphanage. General Yen, a ruthless Chinese warlord, comes to her rescue and whisks her away to safety in his palace. Megan soon suspects she is not his guest but his prisoner yet she begins to feel a strange attraction to her captor. The once controversial topic of interracial romance between a Caucasian woman and a Chinese man earned this film some notoriety upon its release but Capra considered it a “strangely poetic romance” which was a risky art film for its era.

An immigrant from Bisacquino, Sicily, Frank Capra is one of the great American success stories. After growing up in Los Angeles and serving in the First World War, he found his calling in the burgeoning film industry of the early twenties. Working at a variety of jobs from lab assistant to film cutter to gag writer, Capra was promoted to director by silent comedian Harry Langdon who scored several box-office hits with Capra at the helm. The films featured in this collection contain five key movies made after Capra struck out on his own in the early sound era and became Columbia Pictures’ most important and financially successful director, transforming the company from a poverty row studio to a major player in Hollywood.
Technical Specs
  • Format: DVD - Boxed Set
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Run Time: 450 Minutes
  • Region: 1 Region?
  • Aspect Ratio: Fullscreen
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2012
  • Audio: ENGLISH: Stereo
  • Color: Black & White
  • Includes:

    Digital Bonus Features on the DVD Include:
    • Introductions by Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard & Michel Gondry
    • Audio Commentary by Jeanine Basinger & Jeremy Arnold
    • Digital Image Gallery
      - Behind the Scenes Photo(s)
      - Publicity Stills
      - Scene Still(s)
      - Lobby Card(s)
      - Movie Poster(s)
      - Screen Snapshots Featurette
      - Biography/TCM Article(s)
Reviews
7 Reviews
4.6

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
TCMFrank Capra: The Early Collection DVD
 
4.6

(based on 7 reviews)

86%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Entertaining (6)
  • Engaging characters (4)
  • Original (4)
  • Great cinematography (3)
  • High production value (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • At home (6)
  • Adult viewers (5)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Movie buff (5)

Reviewed by 7 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-7

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(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

One gem among the five...

By Pharmboy

from Greensboro, NC

About Me Movie Buff

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Entertaining
  • Historical

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Adult Viewers
    • At Home

    Comments about this product:

    If you are a Capra or Stanwyck fan you will appreciate these movies from the perspective of "movie greats" in the evolution of their craft. For example, I found "Ladies of Leisure" dated, but when watching Stanwyck in this film, her talent as an actress is compelling, and you understand why this is recognized as her break out film. Similarly, in the "The Miracle Woman" you see Stanwyck demonstrating her great dramatic range and can understand why Capra would have wanted her in so many of his movies. However, I purchased these movies impulsively because "Its a Wonderful Life" and "It Happened One Night" are two of my favorite films and I was hoping to find a "hidden gem" in Capra's early works. Those later Capra films stand the test of time, and I have enjoyed watching them many times over the years. From this perspective I would say I was disappointed in this purchase, because only one of the five films really left a lasting impression. That film was "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" which is a haunting movie, though almost completely devoid the comedic turns that I find so appealing in later Capra films. For me, it will probably be the only film of the five film set I will watch again either on my own or with friends and family who are movie buffs.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mystery solved

    By Baron von Tecumseh

    from Toledo Ohio

    About Me Movie Buff

    Pros

    • Engaging Characters
    • Entertaining
    • Original

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Adult Viewers
      • At Home
      • Younger Viewers

      Comments about this product:

      I had been looking for the 4 Stanwyck films in this set,but didn't realize they were in a Frank Capra set,till a friend clued me ,in great pre-code set!

      (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Fantastic

      By jeffs

      from Paterson, NJ

      About Me Movie Buff

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Historically Important

      Cons

      • Wish It Included More

      Best Uses

      • Movie Historian

      Comments about this product:

      These are the types of films we don't associate with Capra, had been hard to see for many years, and all of them are wonderful in their own way. Print quality is excellent.

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Four Stanwyck melodramas plus a comedy

      By Kit

      from Madison, WI

      About Me Casual Viewer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Engaging Characters
      • Entertaining
      • Great Cinematography
      • High Production Value
      • Informative

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Adult Viewers
        • At Home

        Comments about this product:

        Frank Capra movies, even early ones, mix drama, comedy, suspense, wit, and action adroitly. This unpredictable mix keeps his movies interesting eighty years after they were made. Capra knew good acting when he saw it, and he saw a lot of it whenever Barbara Stanwyck was on screen. Four of the five films in this collection star Stanwyck. As the big frog in a very small pond (Columbia pictures), Capra had broad leeway in choosing his major collaborators. A Cal Tech engineer himself, he chose and worked with some of the best. There's some great cinematography in these early films, and camera movement rarely seems constrained by early sound technology. Every disc has good source elements for sound and picture as well as nice extras. Too bad Lady for a Day and Broadway Bill were not included -- that would have brought this collection right up to the first film (It Happened One Night) in the main Capra Collection. On the other hand, those two films are not hard to get, whereas the ones included here were previously impossible to find on DVD. They've been given the deluxe treatment. If you like Stanwyck, Capra, or classic early talkies and prefer owning to streaming, this collection gives good value for your money.

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        PRE-CODE JEWELS!

        By Mikey

        from Medford, Oregon

        About Me Movie Buff

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Engaging Characters
        • Entertaining
        • Great Cinematography
        • High Production Value
        • Original

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • At Home

          Comments about this product:

          What can I say. I love the early Stanwyck movies....Capra's and Wellman's. Shoot, I have them recorded from TCM broadcast but I want glass mastered stamped discs in my archives...withpout the TCM "bug" every 20 minutes or so. Call me a perfectionist. No problem with that. I love these films and want to see them on a large screen the way they were seen decades ago. "Nuff said...except to say, buy 'em folks. You won't be sorry!

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Fantastic Films-great story telling

          By Jenny B.

          from Durand, MI

          About Me Avid Moviegoer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Engaging Characters
          • Entertaining
          • Great Cinematography
          • High Production Value
          • Informative
          • Original

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Adult Viewers
            • At Home

            Comments about this product:

            I bought this product for the Barbara Stanwyck movies. "The bitter tea of general yen" is hard to find for our DVD players. I absolutely love the performances in each of these films. I had not seen "rain or shine" before and really enjoyed it. Barbara Stanwyck said in a bio that she learned alot from the director that she carried with her through her career.(A LIFE OF BARBARA STANWYCK:STEEL-TRUE 1907-1940).(great book). If you love older movies, these are great films.

            (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            great collection!

            By primetime

            from Virginia

            About Me Movie Buff

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Entertaining
            • Informative
            • Original

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Adult Viewers
              • At Home
              • Travel

              Comments about this product:

              As someone who has always liked and respected Capra's storytelling ability, this collection of early movies and especially the commentaries and extras, is an important addition to my collection--and to anyone who cares about how to tell a story. He knew how to capture the zeitgeist of his time better than just about any other director. Trust TCM to create a great contribution to film history!

              Displaying reviews 1-7

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