Frank Capra

Frank CapraBorn: 18 May 1897
Died: 3 September 1991











Academy Award winning director, producer and screenwriter Frank Capra was born on this day in 1897.

He began his career during the silent era when he saw a newspaper article about a new film studio opening in San Francisco. He contacted them claiming that had just moved from Hollywood and had experience in the film industry, despite only dabbling whilst in school. He was nonetheless offered $75 to direct a one-reel silent film.

Capra’s first feature film was For the Love of Mike (1927) but was considered a failure. With the advent of talkies he produced two-reel comedies, his engineering education mean that he could adapt to the new sound technology  better than most directors at the time and in 1929 he directed his first sound film The Younger Generation.

In the 1930s he began to achieve success with his films. He both directed and produced It Happened One Night (1934) and it became the first film to win all five top Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert Riskin).

His second Best Director award came with Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and a third Best Director and second Best Picture award for You Can’t Take it With You (1938). He also received nominations for the films Lost Horizon (1937), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and his best known film It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).

During the Second World War Capra was commissioned by the US government to direct the Why We Fight series of films that included Prelude to War (1942), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, The Nazis Strike (1943), Divide and Conquer (1943), The Battle of Britain (1943), The Battle of Russia (1943), which earned him a second Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary, The Battle of China (1944) and War Comes to America (1945).

Read more at The Internet Movie Database

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