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The Premiere Frank Capra Collection (6-disc)

 

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.

The Premiere Frank Capra Collection is 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). This Premiere Collection also features commentaries for each film, along with a 96- page collectible Movie Scrapbook.....

 

American Madness (1932)      It Happened One Night (1934)    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)


You Can't Take It with You
(1938)      Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

 

BONUS DISC: Frank Capra's American Dream (1997)  

 

Titles

 

American Madness
Stars Walter Huston, Pat O'Brien, Kay Johnson, Constance Cummings, Gavin Gordon
Directors: Frank Capra
Theatrical Release Date: August 4, 1932
Synopsis - It's the 1930s, the Depression era, and the Board of Directors of Thomas Dickson's bank want Dickson to merge with New York Trust and resign. He refuses. One night, Dickson's bank is robbed of $100,000. The suspect is Matt Brown, an ex-convict whom Dickson hired and appointed Chief Teller. Brown, who's very loyal to Dickson, refuses to say where he was that night. He actually has two witnesses for his alibi, Mrs. Dickson and fellow worker Cyril Cluett, but Brown is protecting Dickson from finding out that Mrs. Dickson was with Cluett having a romantic evening. Cluett, who has a $50,000 gambling debt, is actually responsible for the robbery, but lets Brown take the rap. Will Brown's loyalty to Mr. Dickson pay off, or send him back to prison?

It Happened One Night
Stars Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas
Directors: Frank Capra
Synopsis - Ellie Andrews has just tied the knot with society aviator King Westley when she is whisked away to her father's yacht and out of King's clutches. Ellie jumps ship and eventually winds up on a bus headed back to her husband. Reluctantly she must accept the help of out-of- work reporter Peter Warne. Actually, Warne doesn't give her any choice: either she sticks with him until he gets her back to her husband, or he'll blow the whistle on Ellie to her father. Either way, Peter gets what (he thinks!) he wants .... a really juicy newspaper story.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Stars Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander, Douglass Dumbrille
Directors: Frank Capra
Theatrical Release Date: April 16, 1936
Synopsis - Longfellow Deeds lives in a small town, leading a small town kind of life - including playing the tuba in the town band. When a relative dies and leaves Deeds a fortune, Longfellow picks up his tuba and moves to the big city where he becomes an instant target for everyone from the greedy opera committee to the sensationist daily newspaper. Deeds outwits them all until Babe Bennett comes along. Babe is a hot-shot reporter who figures the best way to get close to Deeds is to pose as a damsel in distress. When small-town boy meets big-city girl anything can, and does, happen.

You Can't Take It with You
Stars Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Edward Arnold, Mischa Auer
Directors: Frank Capra
Synopsis - Alice Sycamore has to introduce the family of her fiance, Tony Kirby, to her own family. The Kirby's are wealthy, stuffy family of great self- importance, while the Sycamore's are a collection of good-hearted lunatics. When the two families come together, lifestyle and philosophy collide head-on.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Stars Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee
Directors: Frank Capra

Theatrical Release Date: October 19, 1939
Synopsis - Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state's senior senator--presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Joseph Paine. In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor. Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal.

Frank Capra's American Dream
Stars Ron Howard, Robert Altman, Edward Bernds, Frank Capra Jr., Allen Daviau
Directors: Kenneth Bowser
Rating . Rated PG for brief war footage and mild language.
Genres: Documentary, Biography

Synopsis - Represented as the embodiment of positive US values and humanitarian spirit Franke Capra is discussed by colleagues and family in this A to Z of Capra's career.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1932- 1939

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony (6-disc) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Sony (6-disc) - Region 1, 2,  3, 4 - NTSC
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
Audio English (original) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, French, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• "Frank Capra Jr. Remembers..." featurette for each film
• Commentary on each film
• Interviews include: Frank Capra Jr., Ken Bowser: Frank Capra Documentarian, Richard Pena: Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jeanine Bassinger: Curartor: Frank Capra Archives, Wesleyan Cinema Archives
• "Frank Capra's American Dream" A documentary hosted by Ron Howard
• 96-page Collectible Movie Scrapbook
 

DVD Release Date: December 5th, 2006
3 tiered digipack (3 X 2 discs overlapping) - inside a cardboard box (see image at top)

Chapters: various

 

 

Comments:

This is a lot of information I need to impart, but I'll try to précis it and still be as accurate as possible. Yes, for the 4 feature films that have already been released years ago (in 1999 and early 2000) by Columbia Tri-Star - It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - these ARE different transfers. Generally, the new discs have less damage, are darker and are slightly cropped in comparison to the older transfers. So technically they are 'digitally remastered' (as advertised) but I suggest that they are not a substantial improvement - and certain cases possibly even inferior. The 4 previously released as individual DVDs have the same extra features as the new (Capra Jr. commentaries and Capra Jr. Remembers featurettes etc.). Menus and disc labels are also different. The transfers you may judge for yourselves with the screen captures below as I have done matches with all 4 except You Can't Take It with You (1938) which I don't own the original CTS disc.

 

     

Where this collection has bona fide 'new material' are with the inclusion of American Madness (1932) and the bonus disc with Frank Capra's American Dream (1997) - and 4 other featurettes. American Madness (1932) has a similar Capra Jr. commentary and Capra Jr. Remembers.

Well, I thought these discs were great when they were initially released and I still think so. The commentaries aren't top notch but they do impart some interesting information. Ditto for the Capra Jr. Remembers features. It's all a bit like a big love-in and perhaps rightly so.

American Madness (1932) is a great film and I'm glad I finally own it. In fact all these films are wonderful. Frank Capra's American Dream (1997) is better than many director-focused documentaries I have seen and it's a justifiable inclusion into this stacked set. The 96-page book included is beautiful - filled with color photos, film details and historical quotes - truly top notch.

So my final estimation is that I feel Sony may have taken some liberties with their labeling as 'newly remastered' but technically it is accurate. If you even own three of these films already on DVD I still think it may be worth the plunge based on what you would be missing out on. If these were pristinely done with new commentaries (by scholars) it would rank highly as the boxset of the year - as it stands it is still essential for those who have only been introduced to Capra through It's a Wonderful Life and/or Meet John Doe. - Also see Lost Horizon (1937), The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) and The Miracle Woman (1931).

I often think we don't praise Capra enough... definitely one of the greatest American directors ever. This collection certainly reflects that.     

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus


 

Bonus Disc

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Subtitle Sample (Mr. Deeds Goes To Town)

 

(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

NOTE: NOT exact frame

 

 


American Madness

 

 


 

 


It Happened One Night
 
(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


Mr. Deeds Goes To Town

 

(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


You Can't Take It With You
 

 


 

 


 

 


Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

 

(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Premiere Frank Capra Boxset - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony (6-disc) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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