No saint, no pope, no general, no sultan, has ever had the power that a filmmaker has...the power to talk to hundreds of millions of people for two hours in the dark
Frank Capra was a film director of the Thirties and Forties, the man who brought us the perennial Christmas movie classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.
Many of Capra’s films, feature as courageous hero battling authority, a tendency now described as ‘Capra-esque’. So it was with James Stewart’s character George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life.
So it was for the Italian-born Capra himself, as he fought to establish himself in the film industry in the 1920s, overcoming his lack of experience to make a name for himself at Columbia Pictures, after initially working as a prop maker. By the 1930s, Capra had become a hugely popular multi-Oscar winning director.
For all his Oscar success, on one embarrassing occasion during a particular ceremony, the comedian Will Rogers read out the list of nominees before saying, "C'mon get it, Frank!" Capra went down to the front to receive his award, before it was revealed another ‘Frank’ had won, Frank Lloyd.
Surprisingly, although now probably his best known for his Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life was not seen as a success at the time, only achieving classic status after repeated festive TV showings. By which time, Frank Capra was widely recognised as one of the all-time great film directors.